“Our patients—the pets—are the best. They are always happy. It is the pet parents who need counselling sometimes. Hence, it is important for a vet to understand them and to explain treatment plans properly. Communication is very important,” says Pratapsinh Gaekwad of the Baroda royal family, who set up Crown Vet in 2016 as an end-to-end medical service, with 24-hour emergency care, in-patient care and surgery on offer.
Crown Vet's key focus is dogs and cats, with smaller animals such as guinea pigs, birds and rabbits coming in at times. The care of these animals requires a certain degree of specialisation, and those in the Crown Vet team, who express an interest in the field, are supported with training in the same. In fact, upgradation of skills is a constant at the chain of clinics, with facilities in Mumbai and Pune—the latest having opened in Delhi in March this year. “It is easy for us to setup a good infrastructure that looks really nice. But if we are not able to give quality care through the vets, then this is a self-defeating process,” says Gaekwad.
When vets are recruited, they are required to undergo training for eight to twelve months before taking on case loads of their own. They are required to shadow senior vets, watch the way they communicate with pet parents, chalk out treatment plans and also handle software. There is also a three-month online programme to support vets through the training process. The vision is to understand the needs of both the pets and pet parents.
Crown Vet started with Gaekwad’s wish to invest in a new business. He was toying with the idea of developing real estate, when he saw a need in the veterinary space especially for facilities that are open 24/7. It pushed him into investing in something, which could make a visible difference to people’s lives. “I felt that there was a real gap in India for a setup that adheres to certain standards and protocols, which is backed by quality infrastructure and trained veterinary staff. I believed I could do something to fill the gap,” he says.
The work at Crown Vet has carried on through the pandemic as well, both through online and physical consultations. "We were classified as an essential service and thankfully were able to pull through the pandemic. Our vets really came together to ensure the clinics remained open for pet owners even through the night"