A small animal veterinarian not only preserves the human animal bond between pet parents and their pet, but also ensures one health, which is monitoring of illnesses that are zoonotic in nature.

Nameeta Nadkarni, our next pathbreaker, Veterinary Surgeon at Happy Tails, addresses surgical problems in small animals such as dogs and cats predominantly, and specializes in soft tissue surgeries, endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures.

Nameeta talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about her early childhood, being an introvert as a child, and enjoying the company of four legged animals. 

For students, have a plan to accomplish your aspirations ! There is no substitute for hard work. If you want something, you can manifest it only through dedication and hard work. 

Nameeta,Your background

I was an only child who was born and brought up in Mumbai. I enjoyed studying and was one of those children who was good at it. I studied in Auxilium Convent Girls High School right up till my 10th grade and went on to do science in Ramnarayan Ruia college for 11th and 12th. I did not have a great interest in sports during my childhood. Music was my hobby growing up. I was also a voracious reader. I grew up in a middle class family, so I did not have a very fancy upbringing. My father and mother both worked in banks. 

Growing up, I did not have any pets in my home. Yet, from early childhood I could be seen petting community animals. I always seemed more at ease around them. I was an introvert as a child, a loner who enjoyed the company of these four legged animals. 

What did you do for graduation/post graduation?

I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelors in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry after studying for five years at Mumbai Veterinary College. In 2015, I completed my post graduation in veterinary surgery from the same college. 

What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?

When I was younger, I knew nothing about being a veterinary surgeon. At the age of 9, I read a story in our English textbook of the time. It was about a white tiger with a tooth ailment. The story gave insight into how a veterinarian was able to help this white tiger by taking care of its diseased tooth. Something resonated inside me when I read this story. It was from that age itself that I started telling people that I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up. 

When I had to make a choice in 10th standard about which stream I want to choose next, I had realized in school itself that I was fascinated by science and so it was an easy next step. 

Once I was in junior college, I went and interned with a veterinarian to see if I really wanted to be a veterinarian or it was just a childhood dream. The minute I was in a clinic, I took to it like fish to water. I enjoyed watching what the veterinarian was doing and could envision myself doing the same thing for the rest of my life. 

The blogging and content creation half of my career came much later and was simply an idea that was sounded off to me by one of my friends. Since I always loved to read, writing came naturally to me and I wanted to give it a shot.

How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path

Since I had decided at age 9 that this is what I wanted to do, I made it a point to study very hard. My life had a focus from a very early age. I knew I had to do well in my SSC board exams if I wanted to get a good college to do science, and subsequently I had to get a good rank on the CET exam if I wanted to make it into Mumbai Veterinary college. While doing my under graduation, I realized there were only 3 seats for surgery as a subject of post graduation and it was very competitive to get one of the seats. That had my goal set for the next 5 years of doing veterinary science because I had decided I wanted that coveted seat. So from the age of 9, I had a strong focus towards what I saw myself achieving in life. 

When I was in the third year of my undergraduate education, I realized that I cannot become a good doctor if I was limited to classrooms and textbooks. So I decided to start interning at a clinic run by Dr. Umesh Karkare, a well renowned veterinarian in Mumbai. This I believe gave me a head start into my career when I eventually graduated. 

While doing my post graduation, I wanted to create a niche for myself. I realised early on that one has to do something different to be sought after. Endoscopy was a field of study in veterinary science that wasn’t very developed in India in 2012. An endoscopy is a procedure used in medicine to look inside the body. The endoscopy procedure uses an endoscope to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. 

So I packed my bags and went to Colorado State University to do an observership and learn the skill. I came back and completed my thesis on laparoscopy to be able to set myself apart from other vets when I finished my post graduation. 

I then went back to CSU in 2016 to fine tune my skills so I could put up a laparoscopy and endoscopy set up at my clinic where I had already started working. In 2014, while I was doing my post graduation, I had started working part time for Dr. Umesh Karkare which continues to be my primary work base till date. 

At Colorado State University, I focused on learning endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery in small animals. I also went abroad with the objective of establishing a solid foundation in veterinary surgery for myself. I learnt how things were done abroad so that I could build a gold standard of practice back home. 

As a fresh graduate in India, initially, I worked with Happy Tails and then started managing a clinic for the brand. My job included seeing OPD patients and doing surgeries where I eventually started specialising in minimally invasive surgeries.

During this period, from 2015 to 2019, I presented papers at Veterinary Endoscopy Society conferences in countries like Portugal and Italy. I used these opportunities to network with vets around the globe because my aim was to put India on the map with veterinary science. 

In 2020, when the pandemic hit, I realized the importance of having more than one income source. I always enjoyed writing and so, with the free time that I had, I started writing articles on pets and created my own blog. In the span of a few months, I got a call from LiveMint Lounge, a newspaper affiliated with Hindustan Times. They liked my blogs and asked me to be a columnist for their newspaper. This gave birth to my biweekly column, ‘The Wizard Of Paws’ where I discuss the nuances of pet parenting. 

At that point I realized that I could use my expertise as a veterinarian in other facets as well. I started freelancing as a veterinary surgeon and started going to other clinics to offer my surgical services. The pet industry was growing, I was now an experienced veterinarian who also was well versed with social media and content writing. To further hone my skills, I did a content writing master course with IIM skills. It was a deviation from my primary profession but was a means to reach the same end. 

Once I did the course, I got even more opportunities on the content writing front. I started freelancing as a veterinary content writer and that brought me opportunities with different pet related apps and websites. I eventually became a consultant for various different apps. Today, I am a veterinarian with over four different side hustles. 

How did you get your first break?

My first break as a veterinarian was when Dr. Karkare offered me a job. That set the tone of my career as a veterinary surgeon. 

When it came to content writing, Hindustan times gave me my very first break by offering me a job as a columnist on the basis of the blog that I had created

I used to be an intern at Happy Tails. I had joined the facility when I was in my third year of veterinary college. I was diligent and ensured I was in the clinic every single day. Which is why I was offered a part time job when I was doing my post graduation. 

What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?

  1. Being a veterinary surgeon. 

This was one of the biggest challenge in my career because getting admission for masters in the subject is highly competitive. 5 years of grueling hard work ensured that this challenge was taken care of. 

2. Getting clients

Trusting a young veterinarian with their pet is difficult for any pet parent. When I started practice, it became very difficult to win the trust of pet parents. There have been times when pet parents have refused to get their pets operated with me simply because they thought that I was too young. The way I found my way around this obstacle was to have an honest dialogue with clients. To address their concerns head on and assure them that I know what I am doing. Eventually, word of mouth got me the clients I needed. 

3. Pivoting to content creation

It is a little scary to venture into a new area after having studied and worked as a clinician for so many years. Though I felt like I could create content, to get a break in the field was not very easy. I addressed this challenge by creating my own content till it finally gained recognition from others. 

Where do you work now? 

Currently I work as a veterinary surgeon with Happy Tails Veterinary Speciality. I also freelance as a surgeon in other clinics in Mumbai. 

Now a days my work at Happy Tails and other clinics primarily involves doing soft tissue surgeries. At Happy Tails I also do endoscopic procedures and laparoscopic procedures which not many veterinarians in India do yet. I address surgical problems in small animals such as dogs and cats predominantly. When required, I team up with a vet who specialises in exotic animals to do surgeries, endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery in other animals such as birds, tortoises, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs.


On the content creation front, I am still a columnist for Live Mint Lounge. I also create blog content for VetX International. I consult on various pet apps and am currently associated with Petkonnect. Even on the content creation front, I freelance.

What problems do you solve?

I save lives on a daily basis and also simultaneously create awareness and education among pet parents and other vets. 

What skills are needed for your role? How did you acquire the skills?

To be a good veterinary surgeon one requires good motor skills and the ability to learn and grasp novel concepts quickly. 

For content creation, understanding of technology, social media platforms and having creativity is important. 

One has some skills naturally while others are acquired by doing courses and through repeated practice. 

What’s a typical day like?

A typical day starts with me going to the clinic, doing a couple of surgeries, and consulting a few patients. The second half of my day is generally occupied with content creation and meetings to fulfill my commitments made to various apps. 

What is it you love about this job? 

I love being a veterinarian because it is a profession that demands personal growth on a daily basis. Every day is different and being able to fix a problem and saving a life gives the greatest satisfaction. Side hustles like content creation around the pet industry make you realize how flexible and limitless this industry is. One can keep reinventing and this is what I love most about this job. 

How does your work benefit society? 

As a small animal veterinarian, my work ensures that the human animal bond between pet parents and their pet is preserved. A veterinarian is also responsible for one health, which is monitoring of illnesses that are zoonotic in nature I.e. the kind that can spread from animals to humans and vice versa. 

As a blogger and columnist, the work I do every day raises awareness about different issues associated with being a pet parent. I also address the difficulties and mental health implications of being a veterinarian in some of my articles, hoping that education in this direction aids a lot of young vets navigate through the challenges they face in their careers.

Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!

My very first emergency surgery will always be the closest thing to me. It was a beagle that was bitten by three Rottweilers. The ensuing injuries meant an emergency surgery and wound care for a period of 3 months. The beagle made a complete recovery and has gone on to live till the age of 10 yrs now. That was the first time that I actually saw myself standing between a pet and death. Knowing I could save this life was the most satisfying experience. It humbled me and is the closest experience to me till date.

Your advice to students based on your experience?

  1. Study hard.

There’s no substitute for hard work. If you want something, only you can manifest it via your hard work. 

2. Have a plan

It is important to be focused and have a plan as to what you see yourself doing in the future. This will allow you to direct your hardwork in that direction.

3. Never say no to any opportunity

I went from being just another veterinary surgeon to one of the few that does minimally invasive surgery and also contributes to blogs and articles. I was able to build a side hustle and develop new skills only because I did not say no to any opportunity. Each opportunity is a learning experience and you never know where it will lead.

Future Plans?

I am currently also on the Global Pain Council of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. The goal of this association is to make veterinary continuing education easily accessible.  I aspire to eventually teach what I know, through articles, workshops and by helping young veterinarians that choose to intern with me.