Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Goldfish Avoid Premature Flush Down The Toilet

RALEIGH, N.C. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – It used to be that a sick goldfish saw the toilet bowl before they saw a veterinarian, but a North Carolina fish surgeon is trying to change that.

Dr. Gregory Lewbart, professor of Aquatic Animal Medicine at the University of North Carolina, helps all kinds of gilled patients – from goldfish to rare, expensive fish – using X-rays, local anesthesia, laser surgery and more.

Take Keiko, a $30,000 koi fish suffering “swim bladder” – a condition where the bladder is filled with fluid instead of air. He almost died under anesthesia until Lewbart inserted an I.V. and performed a cardiac massage.

But not all fish tales end as happily.

Lewbart says one fish named Shaky Butt – who ironically was paralyzed in the rear end – stopped breathing and died during an X-ray and that the patient’s owner “didn’t take it very well.”

And Lewbart knows not to add insult to injury. When a fish dies, he insists, “We don’t flush ‘em down the toilet.”

Lewbart and his fishy friends will be featured on the PBS program NOVA ScienceNOW airing Oct. 18.

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