When is a pharmacy not a pharmacy?

After fifteen years of being cared for by the excellent Donaldsons in Thongsbridge, firstly under the care of Rhona and latterly tended to by Roberts’ healing hands, Bonita now has a new Spanish vet in the form of Maria Jose at Hospital Veterinario Tapia in Asturais.

And it seems that she couldn’t be happier.


Needing to get a stockpile of mediaction to try and manage her newly diagnosed heart problems, we searched the internet and asked neighbours for advice on veterinary services. All the local vets are, quite understandably, large animal vets and the two closest domestic vets were both a forty minute drive away.

Research into the nearest showed that the first service that they listed was ‘grooming’ and with the surgery looking more like a pet food shop in the photos, we decided to look a little further afield to Hospital Veterinario in Tapia. We’d passed this place several times on our drives to the airport and it looked clean and professional, with loads of vets and willing assistants.

So on Thursday we put Boni in the car (much to her disgust) and set off, credit card already trembling in my wallet, to get her registered and let the vets give her the once over.

We were quickly acquainted with Marie Jose who took over an hour (I could hear the meter running ever louder as the hour progressed) to give Boni a proper medical including two x-rays of the dodgy heart. She then went over her medicines to check dosage and prescribed the same for us to continue to ‘manage her condition as well as we already are’. We were told to schedule in another appointment in about a month for some blood tests and sent to pay, and we thought, collect her tablets.

They only had one of the prescribed items and wrote us note for the others to take to a pharmacy. We double checked…a pharmacy? Yes came the response.

Boni safely home, and sleeping off the excesses of three hours without a single catnap or toilet incident, we went to the local pharmacy still expecting to be laughed out of the place when we asked for cat pills. But it seems to be the norm here, just in the way that you can buy almost any human drug over the counter without a prescription, and rather than guffaw the pharmacist just enquired whether it was for a cat or a dog!

And what did it cost? An hours’ consultation and two x-rays was just sixty-six euros (£50) and the drug that they did have was £12, half the cost of the same pills in the UK. At the pharmacist we were asked whether we wanted a box of 30 or 60 tablets and after determining that they were both exactly the same price at £2, we opted for the 100% free option. These were 1/3 the UK price.

If only there was a pill to stop her waking us up at 5am to tell us that she’s successfully used the litter tray!


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