THE VETERINARY surgery department of state-owned Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, has been treating its very special patient – Eva. A three-year-old Bull Terrier exotic breed female dog, she has come specially from Paris with her owner Sanjeev Jangwal, a Punjabi NRI settled in Paris, for the cruciate ligament surgery of a leg, which left her lame and limping. Above all, vets in Paris had estimated the cost of surgery to be around 4,500 euros (Rs 3.2 lakh).
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Almost a week after her surgery on January 31, Eva is back on her feet. At GADVASU, the surgery was done just for Rs 800 that is 11 euros. Even after including cost of tests and medicines, the total expense has been Rs 8,000. A specialised fish line thread used in surgery costing 92 pounds (Rs 7,740) was delivered from London.
“Even if I include the cost of Eva’s airplane ticket, I have spent less than Rs 1 lakh on her treatment and she is doing great now. As the surgery alone was costing me Rs 3.5 lakh in Paris, I headed back home for it. I ordered thread from London as GADVASU doctors said its results would be better,” says Jangwal, a single with Eva as “only family”.
Like Jangwal, many other NRIs are getting their pets treated in India. The new trend, according to vets, is giving rise to vet medical tourism in India which is a growing field.
“It was an extremely painful condition that Eva was in. It is not a rare surgery but a specialised one in which the knee joint is opened and in Western countries if the condition worsens, vets even suggest euthanasia. Surgery being too costly there, many opt for euthanasia but with growing vet medical tourism, NRIs are landing in India to get their pets treated,” said Dr Arun Anand, associate professor, veterinary surgery, GADVASU. “A hole was drilled and thread installed to stabilise the knee joint. Eva is back to playing and eating,” he added.
Harmeet Grewal, another NRI from Canada who is getting her Pomeranian Cultural dog treated at Vets For Pets in Ludhiana, said, “Cost effectiveness is a major factor. Treatment, medicines and even food for pets, everything is just too expensive abroad. My dog Murphy had severe stomach infection and eczema on the legs.”
“Treatment for pets in India is way cheaper with almost same facilities available abroad. But, in some cases, ticket is too costly,” said Vipan Puri, whose daughter before shifting to the US from Singapore left their Australian Silky Terrier dog Mocha with him.
“Mocha is undergoing treatment for brain-related problem resulting in fits but doing fine now,” added Puri.
“Maybe NRIs are saving their money but it is a win-win situation for India as vet tourism holds major potential,” said Dr Jaspreet Singh from Vets For Pets.