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Recently, Sanjay Sharma drove 3, 000 km from Shillong to Chennai to get the best healthcare facilities for his pet dog Bonxie. He would have done more, if needed. Bonxie is Sharma's soulmate. "Bonxie is like my son and I want the best for him, " says Sharma, who drove up to 18 hours a day to get his dog to Madras Veterinary College.
While his efforts to save his dog made news and people marvelled at his commitment to his pet, vets at the college were not surprised. For, the institution, which is over 100 years old, has one of the best critical care units (CCU) in the country. And its expert team of specialists tend to patients across India, even flying down to conduct surgeries.
"We get patients from New Delhi and Mumbai. We also get a large number of cases from Andhra Pradesh, " says Dr AP Nambi, head of the clinical medicine department.
A framed photograph of a German shepherd has pride of place in the CCU. Taison was flown down from Mumbai by his owner Yash Lakhani after his kidneys started failing.
"He needed dialysis, but no vet in Mumbai had the facility, so I rushed him to Chennai last November, " says Lakhani, who works with a BPO. Sadly, it was too late to save his beloved pet. But, impressed with the care Taison got, Lakhani gifted the hospital a reverse osmosis plant.
Pet animals suffering from renal failure, epilepsy and cardiac problems are referred to the college. The CCU unit has facilities for life support, blood transfusion, critical care monitoring and haemodialysis. Endoscopy, bronchioscopy and doppler echocardiography are also done here.
"Though the veterinary course itself is mainly designed for the treatment of large animals, a lot more advances have been made in the treatment of small animals in the last 10 years, " says Dr Ramani Jairam, who runs Pluto Pet Clinic, a chain of veterinary clinics in Mumbai. "That's because there is a strong emotional attachment where a pet is concerned;people are keen that optimum care is provided for their pets. "
It's a trend that is gaining momentum in most metros. So now CT and MRI scans, endoscopic procedures and laparoscopic surgeries for pet animals have become routine. Disabled and ageing pets are given the same love and care that is accorded any family member, say veterinarians, who report an increase in the number of cataract surgeries being conducted.
With a greater demand from pet owners for better healthcare facilities, clinics across the country are also upgrading their services. Dr Paul Frederick, who runs Pets N Vets in Chennai, has a clinic, which has facilities to take x-rays and conduct endoscopy. "Six months ago, we began running an ambulance, equipped with oxygen cylinders and with a doctor in charge, " he says.
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