A fish weighing less than one gram (0.03 ounces) became the smallest surgical patient in the United Kingdom after veterinarians successfully removed a tumor from its belly.

Molly, a molly fish, was rushed by its owners into the Highscoft Rabbit, Small Mammal, and Exotic Vets practice in Bristol, England when they saw a large lump on her tummy.

The vets who attended to Molly said the fish was definitely the smallest animal that would go under the knife.

“A couple had been given the molly fish by an elderly neighbor, but after a few weeks they noticed a lump on her underbelly and brought her in,” said exotic species vet Sonya Miles. “It was definitely the smallest animal we’ve seen here. It barely registered on our scales.”

After the vets diagnosed the lump as a tumor, Molly was immediately called for an emergency surgery.

“It’s not common across the UK to bring your fish to the vets, but it is here,” she added. “We are seeing more and more fish, which is great. It used to be the odd one or two every few months, but more and more people are realizing we are happy to see them.”

Molly’s mouth was catheterized and its exterior anesthetized, as the mass was removed in 40 minutes. The operation was deemed a success after Molly woke up minutes after anesthetic was removed.

“It’s pretty simple procedure and took no longer than 30 or 40 minutes,” Miles explained. “We submerged the fish in a container of anesthetic solution. Once the righting reflex was lost and the fish was asleep, it was laid on the operating area.”

“The fish was kept wet, the mouth was catheterized, and different concentrations of anesthetic were injected over the gills to keep the fish at a stable level of anesthesia. The incision was covered with a water-proof paste, as stitching the skin closed isn’t a possibility,” she continued. “The fish was then woken up in fresh oxygenated water. The operation was a success as we were able to remove the tumor before it started to upset the fish’s balance.”

Photos from SWNS

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