±A - Join Our Community

Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

Insurance, FX and international movers

±A - Listen to the Podcast

The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

Veterinary Care

Panama - Veterinary Care

If you are living in one of the major urban areas then you will find that veterinary care is very easy to find, with most neighbourhoods having their own vet. The best way to find a recommended vet is to ask your friends and neighbours although they will be listed in the local telephone directory. There is no formal requirement for vets to be registered with a regulatory body. There are English speaking vets in the country as many have trained in the US or the UK, so most will have at least conversational English, making it easy to obtain the right care for your pet.

The standard of veterinary care is much the same as in the US and the UK and many vets are also able to provide you with the latest medications and speciality foods for pets so there are plenty of branded foods available that you will recognise. You should also be able to obtain the same medications for your pet as you would have had in your home country as many vets will import medication from the US.

The cost of a consultation will start at around $7, which is very inexpensive when compared to the same consultations in the UK or the US. In the major urban areas you will find that the veterinary surgeries are well equipped with the latest technologies and are dedicated veterinary surgeries, although it is not unheard of for a vet to run their practice from a small space in other types of shops. When you visit the vet you will not just encounter household pets, particularly in rural areas. You will find that they treat all manner of domestic and wild animals.

When you register your pet with the local vet it is a good idea to bring detailed notes on your pet’s medical history so that the vet can be sure of any treatments and medications that they recommend. When you first arrive in the country with your pet you will already have details of the vaccinations that the pet has had as well as a ‘good health’ certificate, but the more information that the vet has to work with the better it is for the animal.

Dogs and cats are recommended to keep up with their vaccinations and you will find that this is also cheaper in Panama than in many other countries. The recommended vaccination for dogs will protect against parvovirus, leptospirosis, distemper and hepatitis. Hepatitis is an illness that can be easily contracted by dogs in Panama if they drink contaminated water or eat bad meat. For most expats this will not be too much of an issue as they may be careful about what the dog picks up, but it is wise to be prepared.

If you need to call a vet out to your home then you can do so for around $20 and most vets will respond to a call around the clock. If your pet should need an operation it is worth asking about the type of anaesthesia which is used, as some vets will use a type which has an effect on the pet for days afterwards. Those vets who are making use of more modern technologies will import different types which do not have many after effects and which will allow the pet to recover quickly.

One of the most common reasons for needing a vet for a dog is if they try to eat one of the local frogs. There are several species which can make a dog terribly ill and if your dog displays any symptoms such as frothing at the mouth you will need the advice of a vet immediately. Another common problem for all animals is intestinal parasites. There are a number of medications which are recommended for this and most vets will advise that pets are treated on a regular basis as a preventative measure. Regular treatments for fleas and ticks are also advised.

Those who are unable to afford veterinary care can contact a group called SpayPanama who have a programme for spaying and neutering cats and dogs and help with a number of other types of treatments too. There are mobile units which work in rural areas. The vets that work with SpayPanama are often students who are working for practical experience.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.