“My sister’s pet golden retriever seems to be in a lot of pain. He is under treatment for a kidney issue, but unfortunately, due to the lockdown, we are unable to take him to his vet who lives in Delhi. Could one of you suggest a vet in Gurugram or help me with a number of a vet who would be available for an online consult?’ read a Whatsapp message in my apartment complex’s group chat.
This is not an isolated request as many pet parents are worried about running out of food and medicines for their pets. Furthermore, some are unable to contact doctors to consult in case of emergencies.
Fortunately, there are people trying to help pet parents across the country with essential services like food delivery, and medical consultations.
But, it is important to understand what constitutes a medical emergency. Listed below are some of them:
• Excessive vomiting or diarrhoea
• Fractured bones, severe lameness or inability to move leg(s)
• Choking, difficulty breathing or nonstop coughing and gagging
• Bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, or blood in urine
• Inability to urinate or pass faeces (stool), or obvious pain associated with urinating or passing stool
• Injuries to your pet’s eye(s)
• You suspect or know your pet has eaten something poisonous (such as antifreeze, xylitol, chocolate, rodent poison, etc.)
• Heat stress or heatstroke
• Injury in a traumatic accident or in an attack by another animal
In need of pet food or a vet? Here are five helplines working across India for pets.
1. Pawshbox – Pune
Established in 2016, Pawshbox is based in Pune. Co-founder – Malhar Katare says that while they have been operational all through the lockdown period, they are only supplying the essentials, which include food and grooming products for dogs and cats.
“Immediately after the lockdown, we saw a surge in the orders that we were receiving. It was more out of fear than the actual need. We do ship pan-India and are hoping to restart as soon as the situation improves. As of now, we are only servicing our clients in Pune,” shares Katare.
An important message that Katare wishes to share is that one should refrain from hoarding, which is causing a shortage. “We had a client who bought six big bags of dog food. This quantity would easily last more than six months, and that kind of buying is not needed at this point.”
If you wish to reach out to Pawshbox, please call – +91- 7741977770.
2. Dial a Vet – Pan India
Veterinarians, Dr Shantanu Kalambi, Dr Suranjana Ganguly and Dr Akshay Mohan have joined hands and started – Dial a Vet, a service specifically aimed at reducing the stress on pet parents during this COVID-19 lockdown period.
In a conversation The Better India (TBI) Dr Kalambi said, “Since the lockdown was announced, we have been getting many calls with problems with pets, and some were not necessarily essential ones. In order to prioritise and be able to attend to the ones that needed immediate attention, Dial a Vet came into being.”
If you need to consult with the doctors, you need to fill out a google form, mentioning basic details about your pet. These may include details of the ailment, history of the pet etc. Once done, they set up either a telephonic call or a video call depending on the need.
“During the first week of the lockdown we were getting almost 30 calls but that number now seems to have come down to about 15 calls a day. The queries vary from general diet and nutrition to grooming and skin conditions.”
This is a pan-India initiative has been getting calls from all across the country. Bengaluru, Arunachal Pradesh, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and even some parts of West Bengal, informs Dr Kalambi.
If you need to reach out to Dial a Vet, fill out this form here or call at +91 6361 633 287.
PetKonnect is an app launched by Devanshi Shah in September 2019. It provides pet parents access to various services, which include – storing medical records, accessing emergency services, and calling for an ambulance. PetKonnect app is now running a 24/7 helpline to assist pet parents during the lockdown.
Devanshi says that since the lockdown they have seen almost 5,000 new app users. You can log on to their official website here and the app is available for download for both iOs and Android users. The charges for a consultation begin from Rs 300 for 20 minutes. Pet parents are advised to send in details like the pet’s age, weight, temperature, and history of any ailment.
4. Royal K9 Petcare
Dr Kuldeep Singh, a veterinary surgeon based in Chandigarh, is available for consultation and emergencies between 5-7 pm. He says it would be best if the pet parent sends him a message with a brief history of the ailment and other relevant details, which will help him understand the case and schedule an appointment accordingly.
While sending the message to the doctor, add details like age, sex, body weight, and breed of the pet. Attach other supporting documents like pictures, videos, or lab reports, if you have them.
Dr Singh is available at the following address – House No. 1082, Phase 5, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Punjab 160059 and can be contacted at – 098153 16632/ 098762 00969.
5. Bidhannagar, Kolkata
A 24X7 helpline was launched by the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation to help pet parents through this lockdown period. In order to facilitate movement, they have earmarked two vehicles as animal ambulances. The ambulances are connected with communication systems to respond to distress calls on the helpline.
According to Krishna Chakraborty, Bidhannagar Mayor, “We started this keeping in mind that there are hundreds of Kolkattans who have pets at home. We had received several calls from residents seeking help for their sick pets.”
Residents across the city can dial 9604010035 for pet-related emergencies. This helpline can also be used in case people need to get help for wounded or ill stray animals.
With relaxation in the lockdown rules in some states, one might be able to take their pets to the clinic. However, in cases where that is not possible, services like these are most certainly a boon.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)