We moved to Las Tablas, Panama with our three dogs in the spring of 2012. Before leaving the US, they were loaded up with innoculations, exams, the whole nine yards.
Since arriving in Panama, our visits to the vet have been limited. My husband stops by every couple of months to pick up heartworm medicine (no prescription necessary) and tick spray (ticks are a big problem here). Since our dogs are pretty healthy, the only vet visit was after one of the dogs got into an altercation with a stray, and another time when he bit his own tail and it got infected.
The local veterinarian, Dr. Dionel Vega, is located in the heart of Las Tablas by the Park. He’s a small animal vet — household pets, not cows and horses.
He’s competent and friendly. Neither he nor his staff speak English, but with liberal use of an online translation program we manage to communicate. When you’re his client, you get his office phone and personal cell phone numbers.
The First Sick Visit
Yesterday the first serious vet visit took place.
Our oldest dog — the one who gave us such a scare after he’d only been here a couple of weeks — has been losing weight and becoming listless. My husband took him to Dr. Vega yesterday afternoon to be checked out.
He walked in without an appointment, waited a short time while the two dogs ahead of him were attended to, and then saw the doc. The doctor spent a lot of time checking our dog.
He drew blood and tested it immediately. Based on that he determined that the dog’s iron was very low, so he immediately gave him a vitamin injection and also gave us a liquid vitamin to give him at home. He also suspected parasites and asked for a stool sample.
Total bill for these services: $36.00
This afternoon my husband went back — with all three dogs this time. Dr. Vega wasn’t in the office, but the receptionist called him at his house and he came in right away.
He examined all three dogs, administered rabies and other shots they were due for, and suggested they schedule a return visit to have their teeth cleaned.
Here’s a copy of our bill.
Yes, you’re reading that right. $82.00. Exams and shots for three dogs were only $25 apiece.
He was kind, he was competent, he was fast. . . Would we recommend him? Absolutely!
Oh, and he’ll have the results from the stool sample for us tomorrow.
Dr. Dionel Vega
Clinica Veterinaria Santa Librada
Frente el Parque (yes, that’s an address)
Las Tablas, Los Santos, Panama