Pufferfish has emergency dental work after teeth grow so big she can't eat

·3-min read
Goldie in her tank post-teeth trim. See SWNS story SWMDfish; Goldie the porcupine pufferfish was losing weight and was at risk of starving because of her giant gnashers. Her worried owner Mark Byatt, 64, rushed the five-year-old fish and anaesthetised her before operating on her teeth, or beak. Amazing video shows vets at Linnaeus-owned Sandhole Veterinary Cente in Snodland, Kent, gently trimming her teeth with a special saw. Vet Daniel Calvo Carrasco said: “Porcupine pufferfish teeth are known as beaks and grow continuously throughout their lives.
Goldie the porcupine pufferfish was losing weight and was at risk of starving because of her giant teeth. (SWNS)

A fish had to be rushed to an animal dentists to have its teeth sawn in half after they grew so long it was unable to eat.

Goldie the porcupine pufferfish was at risk of starving because of her giant teeth, prompting worried owner Mark Byatt to take the five-year-old fish to the vets.

Experts at Linnaeus-owned Sandhole Veterinary Cente in Snodland, Kent, sedated the pufferfish then used a special saw to gently trim her 1ins teeth in half so she can eat.

The five-year-old pufferfish was sedated before vets trimmed her teeth so she could eat. (SWNS)
The five-year-old pufferfish was sedated before vets trimmed her teeth so she could eat. (SWNS)

Vet Daniel Calvo Carrasco said: "Porcupine pufferfish teeth are known as beaks and grow continuously throughout their lives.

"They’re usually kept short naturally, as they’re worn down on their regular diet of hard-shelled foods but, while these foods are provided in her home environment, she is not as forthcoming in eating them as her other tank mates.

"As a result, her upper beak grew to the point where it was hindering her ability to eat effectively."

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He said: "Goldie was brought into the practice in a large watertight container containing water from her home tank and a licensed fish anaesthetic was placed into the water until she achieved a light plane of anaesthesia.

"To support her further, the water was oxygenated throughout.

"This meant she was still breathing nicely throughout but was able to be held for brief periods out of the water without becoming too stressed."

Porcupine pufferfish's beaks grow continuously throughout their lives and are usually worn down, but Goldie's hadn't. (SWNS)
Porcupine pufferfish's beaks grow continuously throughout their lives and are usually worn down, but Goldie's hadn't. (SWNS)

Veterinary nurse Debbie Addison held Goldie in a damp towel to prevent her from drying out or triggering the famous defence mechanism which sees pufferfish inflate to twice their size.

While she was holding the fish, Carrasco was able to use a dental burr to cut through the upper beak and reduce it by half.

Goldie was then put in a tank of water from her home tank to recover.

"She responded well," Carrasco added. "Within five minutes, she was able to stay up right in the water and within ten minutes she was back to happily swimming around.

"The whole procedure went swimmingly and was conducted in under an hour without any stress at all and Goldie was back home and eating well within two hours."

Goldie is now back in her tank at home in Leybourne, Kent, following the procedure earlier this month.

Goldie's procedure was successful and she's back home safely. (SWNS)
Goldie's procedure was successful and she's back home safely. (SWNS)

Her relieved owner, who is 64, said: "About three months ago, we noticed her front beak was growing very quickly even though she was eating cockle in shell every day.

"We aren’t sure why Goldie’s teeth never really managed to grind themselves naturally but we knew we needed to get them filed, although we were unsure about how to achieve this.

"I was also very concerned about the process of getting Goldie to the surgery, as transporting large tropical fish is not without risk.

"We're just thrilled to have Goldie back home. She is thriving back in her tank and none the worse for her visit to the dentist."

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