WRAL

Fish owners in North Carolina are proving just how much they love their scaly friends.

Some are going so far as to provide their goldfish and koi with expensive surgeries.

“We’ve certainly had owners spend $1,000 to $2,000 on a pet goldfish,” said Dr. Greg Lewbart, a veterinarian at North Carolina State University, speaking to WRAL.

“I don’t really think twice about it,” Lewbart told the outlet — no scary Darlas from Finding Nemo here!

“I just think, this is Teddy or this is Lucky or Tulip or Bubbles, and they’re a part of the family, and I am going to do my best to help that animal and the owner,” he added. Lewbart sees about 50 fish cases every year. Some fish even receive chemotherapy.

“They can live out of water as long as you keep their gills moist or irrigated,” Lewbart explained.

Pat Gupton, a local resident who owns several of goldfish and koi — and has for 30 years — doesn’t think twice either about providing her fish with the best care she can find if they get sick.

“Your fish gets sick, are you just going to let it die? No, no no. You are going to take it to the vet school,” she said to WRAL.

“I will go without to have my fish have what they need,” Gupton said, saying that she can’t imagine how much she has spent on his many fish over the years.

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“If you have an animal, whether it is a dog, a cat or a fish, you have to take care of it. It is your responsibility,” Lewbart added.

“There’s a real bond that people form with their pet fish,” Lewbart said. “Not everybody, but a lot of people do.”

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