Now that's a scale and polish! Meet the fish who went to the dentist

Now that’s a scale and polish! Meet the fish who went to the dentist… to have her one-inch fangs filed down

  • Experts sedated the pufferfish by filling her water bowl with a mild anaesthetic
  • Owner Mark Byatt, 64, said she is now ‘thriving’ back in her tank in Leybourne  
  • Vets used a saw to trim her 1in teeth as the pufferfish was at risk of starving

A pufferfish was taken to a dentist to have her teeth sawed in half after they grew so long she was unable to eat.

Goldie the porcupine pufferfish was at risk of starving. Experts sedated the five-year-old by filling her water bowl with a mild anaesthetic at Sandhole Veterinary Centre in Snodland, Kent.

They then used a saw to trim her 1in teeth. Owner Mark Byatt, 64, said she is ‘thriving’ back in her tank in Leybourne.

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

Goldie the porcupine pufferfish was at risk of starving. Experts sedated the five-year-old by filling her water bowl with a mild anaesthetic at Sandhole Veterinary Centre in Snodland, Kent

‘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.

‘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.’

The pufferfish was taken to a dentist to have her teeth sawed in half after they grew so long she was unable to eat

Owner Mark Byatt, 64, said she is ‘thriving’ back in her tank in Leybourne

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

Daniel added: ‘Debbie was able to hold Goldie in a damp towel to prevent her becoming too dry, while also ensuring she was protected if she did trigger her defence mechanism to inflate her body and activate her spines.

‘It was during those brief periods out of the anaesthetic water that I was able to use a dental burr to cut through her upper beak and reduce its length by half.

‘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 pictured above in her tank. Vet Daniel Calvo Carrasco said: ‘Porcupine pufferfish teeth are known as beaks and grow continuously throughout their lives’

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

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