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No reason to ‘scale’ back on this ‘tale,’ as seeing is believing in this fish story

No reason to ‘scale’ back on this ‘tale,’ as seeing is believing in this fish story
No reason to ‘scale’ back on this ‘tale,’ as seeing is believing in this fish story | No reason to ‘scale’ back on this ‘tale,’ as seeing is believing in this fish story
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
It’s a real fish out of water story.
But there’s nothing fishy about this tale.
In fact, the one that got away is a goldfish now happily back in the swim of things, thanks to Union City veterinarian Dr. Leland Davis.
About a month ago,  Craig McManus of Union City turned to Dr. Davis for help when he noticed a large growth had covered the eye of one of the pet goldfish in his pond.
McManus said the tumor developed on the fish’s head and became big enough that it eventually covered the creature’s eye, making it difficult for the fish to function normally. He was curious about the removal of the growth and consulted the veterinarian to see if it could be quickly taken off.
McManus estimated he’s had the fish about eight years and said it is one he acquired from the Obion County Fair through his position as a fair board member and vice president. It’s one of about 45 fish that call his pond home and which he feeds each morning.
“It’s a fair fish,” he said. “People win them (at the carnival games) and go off and leave them sitting in bags, sitting around the fairgrounds. I put them in my pond after the fair because kids leave them at the fair.”
Over the years, the fish grew from about two inches in length to its current size of about eight or nine inches.
“I’ve had this fish a long time and I hated to let him die. I felt sorry for him,” McManus added.
Dr. Davis said after McManus contacted him, he did some research and talked to some other veterinary professionals in order to develop a game plan for removing the fish’s tumor. It was the first time he had operated on a fish — but he recalled having helped perform surgeries on such exotic animals as hippos, elephants and camels during veterinary medicine school.
McManus scooped the fish out of his pond and placed it in a newly-purchased five-gallon aquarium for the trip to Reelfoot Animal Hospital in Union City, the fish’s temporary home for a couple of days.
The fish surgery lasted about 30 minutes one day recently and involved Dr. Davis putting the fish to sleep with a tiny dose of injectable anesthesia while a small pump was placed in its mouth to allow carefully-tempered water to flow through its gills.
The fish — which is a little larger than an adult man’s hand — was weighed first to determine the exact amount of anesthesia needed.
“We rigged up a pump that actually pumped water out of the tank and pumped it across its gills so he could breath oxygen — like hooking a person up to an anesthesia machine,” Dr. Davis said.
After the tumor was surgically removed and the bleeding was stopped, the fish was placed back into its tank to recover from the effects of the anesthesia.
“It floated sideways and upside-down — but at least you didn’t have to worry about him driving home or anything,” Dr. Davis said.
The fish was injected with an antibiotic to ward off infection and was kept another day for observation at the clinic, where McManus’ daughter, Amanda, works.
The tumor was sent off to be analyzed and Dr. Davis said he has been exploring some options to see what can be done to keep another growth from returning.
On an overall “scale,” the surgery was a complete success. “It did fine,” Dr. Davis said of the fish.
“The fish came to and we put him back in the pond,” McManus said. “We needed to get him back in the pond. He’d been living in a 1,200-gallon pond versus a five-gallon fish tank.”
In no time at all, the fish was back in the swim of things and rejoined his schoolmates in the McManus pond.
One thing changed, though. The fish got a new identity.
“We named him Leland, after Dr. Davis,” McManus said. Published in The Messenger 10.19.11

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