Animal ailments of all kinds get VIP treatment at Best Pet Rx
- Last Updated: 5:56 AM, June 24, 2012
- Posted: 10:21 PM, June 23, 2012
The pharmacy at 1751 Second Ave. looks much like many other Upper East Side health and beauty emporiums: Shelves are filled with brushes, shampoos and creams. There’s a drug counter in the back, a nail-care section up front, an area for vitamins and probiotics, and displays that dangle healthy vegetarian snacks.
But, on closer inspection, you’ll notice that the beautiful cocktail of almonds and pistachios are parrot feed, and the floral scented hair conditioner is for dogs. This is Best Pet Rx — Duane Reade for the animal population.
Danny Carrero first opened a traditional drugstore in the space back in 1998 with partner Sam Abdrabouh. By 2006, they noticed a spike in the number of pet prescriptions, and two years ago decided to transform the store into New York’s only animal pharmacy.
“This is more fun than just counting pills,’’ says Carrero, who stands behind the counter surrounded by a staff in lab coats. Everyone who works at Best Pet Rx must own a pet, and many have worked as veterinary technicians. “We want people here who are compassionate about animals,’’ explains Abdrabouh.
Their business has become so popular, that it’s now spread beyond neighborhood pet owners. When the circus comes to town, things get particularly interesting. A handler for Big Apple Circus recently phoned, requesting heartworm medication for a camel.
“Yes! We had our first camel,” enthuses Carrero.
Even the New York Aquarium came calling, requesting a bandage for a stingray and an ointment for a walrus with a double eye infection.
Employees use a mortar and pestle to crush medicine into custom-made capsules, which allows several drugs to be combined into one small pill. Anyone who’s ever tried to dose a dog or cat knows that they’ll force their jaws shut or spit pills out on the sly, so medicines are made with flavors such as grilled tuna, peanut butter, beef and bacon.
“If it’s not something a dog is enjoying, I will triple the flavor,’’ maintains Nick Snyder, a former human chemotherapy compounder, now responsible for making liquid formulations palatable. The pharmacy currently uses 30 flavors, including chicken potpie and tutti-frutti.
They also carry all kinds of special foods, and provide nutritional consultation, recommending the right diet to improve everything from joint health to coat luster.
“This was a huge, huge risk for us,’’ says Carrero. “It took a couple million to get it to this point, between technology, equipment and training. Now it’s working; pet owners and or vets tell us the challenges, and we come up with the solutions. We don’t just care for Upper East Side pampered pooches and felines; we help all animals, including lizards and even [wild] New York pigeons.’’