Fibre laser surface treatment (FLST) of a cold isostatic pressed (CIP) ZrO2 engineering ceramic (ZEC) was performed using various processing gas compositions. This is the first time that a surface treatment of ZEC has been employed hitherto by using the fibre laser (FL) radiation to observe the changes on and within the surface of the engineering ceramic; in particular, material removal, surface topography, chemical composition, changes in the surface hardness and distribution of the heat affected zone (HAZ). Bonding of the grain boundaries was found through surface melting with all FL irradiated samples to some extent, but the effect was more marked on the sample FL irradiated with an Ar assist gas and proved to be the most effective combination for modifying the surface morphology. The surface finish and the material removal were varied with the changes in the gas composition. Maximum material removal was observed when an O2 assist gas was employed on account of the O2 generating an exothermic reaction. This in turn, produced excessive heating. The compositional analysis revealed a chemical change occurring within the FL irradiated surfaces, regardless of the assist gas used, with the ZEC transforming to zirconia carbide (ZrC).