No joke. George (the goldfish) had developed a rather large tumor over the past year and the owners loved the fish so much, they spent $200 to have the life-threatening tumor surgically removed:
$200 seems about right.
Good thing the fish is in Australia where they have a national healthcare system. If they did it in the US the surgery would have been $10,000 and they would have charged $350 for the water tube. (* snark alert *)
Reads like a win-win-win to me. George gets more life, the owners get George, and the vet gets to refer to himself as a leading authority on surgery on goldfish. Given the advent of cheap high-speed travel there is a fair expectation of many more cases.
The down side is that parents no longer get to flush the goldfish because 'nothing could be done'. The kids are going to Google goldfish medicine and demand, or lament the lack of, heroic measures. The game is getting kicked to the next level.
Owners of the gold fish are going to be very happy
There is a chance of buying more fishes as pets..
@Art, don't forget the vet will also write a book about the surgery and then the owners will write one about their emotional experience through all this.