As a city, Mumbai has always had a dearth of good veterinary facilities. Getting an x-ray would mean sneaking your dog into a human clinic and rushing through the process with technicians who would be huddled in a corner away from the dog; blood tests had to be done at a human laboratory and medicines would have to be bought with a sick dog in tow.
Which is why, I was pleasantly surprised to hear of the opening of Crown Vet, a veterinary hospital located under the Mahalaxmi Bridge inside a spacious 4,500 sq feet facility. The first thing I noticed was that the place didn’t smell like a hospital – it was clean, brightly lit and I was greeted with a big smile from the receptionist.
The brain child of Pratapsingh 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 anaesthesia. The fear of this recurring with that trauma was one of the driving forces behind this clinic,” says Gaekwad
As I was shown around the clinic by Sheroy Wadia, the man who was involved from conception and now makes sure the clinic runs without a hitch explains that there is more to setting up a veterinary practice than meets the eye, from architectural design and layout, to purchasing medications, to dealing with veterinary professionals, he is even learning the technical aspects of anaesthesia protocols! But you can see the passion in his eyes just as you can with clinical director – Dr. Billie Jo Chambers. A warm and caring person, I instantly take to her as she enthusiastically explains that currently, Crown Vet offers a whole range of services from routine vaccinations, consultations and worming advice to surgery, ultrasonography, radiography, in-house blood analysis even dental work. “We have our own in house pharmacy which means we can dispense medications that our patients need immediately,” she states. “We also stock a few select retail items and some lovely gifts if you fancy spoiling your pooch after the trip to the doctors! We have separate dog and cat kennels for our day patients, separate kennels with oxygen supplies when needed. We are also available for advice and run separate nutritional consults which we all know are needed in this city.”
But the team wants to eventually build the place into a veterinary centre that offers the next level of pet care. “We are passionate about preventative health care, we want to educate owners and pet lovers about the best care for our furry friends who cannot directly tell us how they are feeling,’ says Dr. Billie. “We have a fantastic team of dedicated vets, and a wonderful experienced British nurse who heads our anaesthesia (who people often miss as she is always busy working in prep monitoring our in-patients).”
The response so far has been positive. But the team and the team at Crown Vet is aware that there is a real need for a 24 hour emergency clinic in the city which they are working towards. “We find that clients are pleasantly surprised to see the size and quality of the set up, and most importantly we find that pets like coming here,” says Dr Billie, happily as she runs off to attend to another pet that has just walked. All in a day’s work for the busy veterinarian.