In conversation with Dr. Makarand Chavan, Secretary Pet Practitioners Association of Mumbai (PPAM), General Secretary Federation of Small Animals Practitioners Association of India (FSAPAI), WSAVA Representative, India (World Small Veterinary Association), we delve into the advancements in the veterinary sector, continuous learning in small animal practicing, mixed vet culture, and lessons for Pet Companies.
Since how many years have you been practicing now?
I have been practicing for twenty four years and I run a clinic in Shivaji park in Central Mumbai in a Place called Dadar. Along with me, we have four more vets and we have a clinic with an Ophthalmology and surgical facility.
How has the veterinary care service evolved in India over time?
20 years back, most of the clinics were single vet clinics. Some clinics were run in a small garage, some clinics were run in households, and some clinics were in commercial premise, where most of the clinics are now shifted. In old times, vet clinics were not full time. Vets were doing other jobs with evening hours or morning hours or both. At that time, there were very few vets who were doing full-time practice. They were also doing visiting practice in the middle period, working by appointments and, working by walk-ins as well. This has changed now. The paradigm has shifted over the last 20 years. We have most of the leading practices that are multi vet practices. We have in house facilities. Many of the clinics have diagnostic ultra sound, X ray, and a lot have the state of the art surgical suite. In old times, we used to refer to only the Veterinary Hospital or Mumbai Veterinary College, but now we have that facility. At the same time, we have a lot of super specialty clinics available, consisting of those who have travelled across the globe to learn and are now getting their referral practice as well. It is a big change and it is good for the pets.
How has your continuous involvement in Education Program contributed in up skilling your veterinarians specially in small animal practice?
The Pet Practitioner Association Mumbai Started in 1997. It has truly been a driving force across the small animal veterinarians. At the same time, in India, the respective state associations started in Chennai, Bangalore, and Delhi, and they all came together under the name of Federation of Small Practitioner Association of India( FSAPAI). The benefit is that if you get a world class speaker from foreign or India, we share the speaker among our associations. We have also been doing our event for the last 20 years and it has been very popular. It is called FSAPAI and WSAVA CE. We have shared the experience of speciality veterinarians across practicing veterinarians , and this continuous education has helped to upgrade our skill levels, not only through lectures but also hands on training a. We do vet labs, workshops, master-class. In every state, we are in regular contact with the Veterinary universities and colleges. We conduct events for vet students and invite their faculty for interaction in our Outreach initiatives. We have dialogues to strengthen the bond between different institutions. In return, it helps to upgrade the level of the pet care practice. We do multiple events all across India in an year and a huge Pan India event every year with world class speakers( FSAPAI-WSAVA CE) . At the moment, the federation has more than 13 associations affiliated to it and we have applications pending from other states. Soon, we will be touching 3,500 small animal exclusive clinics under our activities.
Can you tell us the number of veterinarians practicing small animal?
In India, we have around 1 lakh veterinarians.
In small animal practice, we have around 10,000 Veterinarians. There are mixed practitioners who are doing small animal , large animals as well assisting in farm, government or academia sectors. That number is around 30,000.So there is a big number of vets you can say who are catering to small animals .
How many veterinarians graduate every year approximately?
We have around 3000 vets graduating every year. In India, we have 47 veterinary schools that are monitored by VCI. All the graduates don’t get into small animal’s practice. There are multiple fields vets can get into.
What are the changes in pet parents’ behavior in their awareness and knowledge over the years?
Their knowledge has evolved along with the skills of the veterinarian as well. Some have pets for security purpose and some for companionship. Majority of the pet parents are in the category of wanting company and having a family member. I have seen it in Metros and other parts of India also. It is more than a child, it is a part of the family. Post pandemic, people are spending more time at home. Pet adoptions and having more kittens, puppies or exotic pets have increased in numbers. There is more dedication towards the pet care. It has increased our challenges also to keep our knowledge updated and to cater to the wellness and needs of the pet as well as the queries of the pet parent.
I am very thankful to your group Creature Companion. You have a great initiative of sharing information and using the platform to make it a better world for pets. Such initiatives have increased awareness for pet parents and in future. What is the need of the hour is to have a database as a referral practice. Once we have the database, pet practitioners can refer challenging cases to the specialists. Pet parents will also have a choice, to request their primary veterinarian to refer them to a specialist.
What is your one message to the pet companies bringing products and services as well as the native products?
Before launching the product, the company should do the correct market survey, not only with the pet parents but also with the practicing vets and vets in research and academia, so that those products have correct and safe formulations .
We need the products which are truly needed for pet care . My request to the companies would be to do the correct market survey, then launch the product. There are still some areas in the market where no products are available.
What is your message to Pet Parents?
Dr. Makarand Chavan- Meet your vet for any queries or doubt because you will get mixed and confusing information on the internet. Hence it is very important to read the correct information. It is even more important to follow the correct guidelines.
Whether it is about pet care, vaccination, diet, and nursing, Trust your veterinarian rather than trusting a person who doesn’t have any educational credentials in this sector.
Thank you so much, Doctor.