On our earlier visits to veterinary clinics across Mumbai, the one factor that has always disappointed us has been the lack of space. In a city where grooming and other luxury- lifestyle activities for pets is a booming industry, the healthcare segment isneglected. Attempting to fill this vacuum is Crown Vet, a veterinary hospital located under the Mahalaxmi Bridge inside a spacious 4,500 sq feet facility.
Dr Billie-Jo Chambers (centre) with her team of doctors. Pics/ Bipin Kokate
As clinical director, Dr Billie-Jo Chambers walked us through the facility, we noticed that the space has been neatly planned to include a consulting room that leads to the prep room, where the patient is prepared for minor or major surgeries.
There were three surgery rooms, separate kennels for dogs and cats for post operative care, diagnostic imaging equipment, a dedicated radiology department, a laboratory where on-the-spot tests can be done and an onsite chemist.
A stray, Peachy, being taken to a laboratory where on-the-spot tests can be conducted
"We wanted people to find everything under one roof so that during an emergency you don't end up shuttling from one place to another," says project head Sheroy Wadia.
"We did see large hospitals in Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Bangalore but Mumbai had none except the Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital in Parel. We spoke to many pet owners who were not convinced about sending their pets there because of questionable hygiene standards. Mumbai has some reputed veterinarians doing an excellent job but are restricted by infrastructure," he adds.
The hospital is the brainchild of Pratapsingh Gaekwad, who belongs to the royal family of Baroda. For Gaekwad, the clinic was born out of the helplessness he felt as a pet owner, when his Great Dane fell ill. "After the surgery, he was placed in the car and had to be taken home even before he had come out of anesthesia. The fear of this recurring with that trauma was one of the driving forces behind this clinic," says Gaekwad.
Pratapsingh Gaekwad with his Great Dane
"One of the biggest concerns we had was that in Mumbai, there is hardly any spaces to keep the pet in overnight care and under observation. Animals, too, need complete recuperation time to heal from the surgery. Hence, we designed special kennels for the patients where they will be monitored post surgery," he adds.
There is a large room dedicated to holding seminars for vets in the city or even awareness programmes for pet parents. "Things are different here from what I've seen in the UK. Not too many people here come for preventive treatment for their pets, which is very common in UK.
Post-operative care boarding facility for cats
We need to change that mindset. Since animals can't speak sometimes ailments are detected too late. Regular check-ups just like those for humans can help change that," says Chambers who has eight years of experience and would be assisted by a head nurse (also from the UK) and a team of three young Indian veterinarians.
In our time at the clinic, we were pleasantly surprised to see Peachy, a stray who was rescued by one of the vets. She was undergoing treatment for an accident. With her legs bandaged Peachy was better and the team will look for a home for her.
The hospital intends to tie up with NGOs to facilitate treatment for strays as well. While the facility is currently is equipped to look after cats and dogs, they intend to introduce care for birds and other exotic pets at a later stage too.
Time 9 am to 7 pm, all days
At Crown Vet Clinic, Arch 27/28, Below Mahalaxmi Bridge, Dr E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi.
> Dr Sangeeta Vengsarkar Shah
At: Plot no-137, Road No 2, Shivaji Park.
> Happy Tails Veterinary Specialty
At: 14th Road, Khar (W).
> Dr Fernazs Pets Clinic
At: Shop No 06, Premier Emperor Building, Ashok Nagar, off Marol Military Road, Andheri (E).
> Dr Asha Makde
At: Plot No 19 Neelkanth Shopping Centre, RC Marg, Chembur (E).
> Dr Natasha's Clinic
At: Shop Number 4, Vaishnavi Dham, Purushottam Kheraj Road, Mulund (W).