Colorado Pharmacy Finds Niche in Veterinary Compounding

April 26, 2021
Karen Berger, PharmD

Karen Berger, PharmD, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2001. She has worked in community pharmacies for over 17 years as a Pharmacist in Charge, staff, and floater pharmacist for a large chain. Currently, she is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in Northern NJ. She can be reached at karenmichelleberger@gmail.com

Pharmacy Times, April 2021, Volume 89, Issue 04
Pages: 46

Beattie's Healthmart is known for stellar customer service and its 3 playful, yet protective, dogs.

Trey Beattie, RPH, and his wife, Laurie Bettie, a compounding technician, are the proud owners of Beattie’s Healthmart Pharmacy in Erie, Colorado.

Trey graduated from pharmacy school in 1992 and accepted a pharmacist position at a local hospital, with the goal of making $50,000 in his first year out of school, which he accomplished. Although already working a 7-day-on, 7-day-off schedule at the hospital, Trey took a position at an independent pharmacy, working there on his days off from the hospital.

Seeing his potential, the owner encouraged Trey to purchase a nearby store.

In 1996, Trey opened his first pharmacy: Beattie’s Community Pharmacy in Brighton, Colorado. Although it took a year and a half to turn a profit, Trey was optimistic, knowing that the neighborhood was about to boom, with an airport and housing being built and a large influx of new residents flowing into the town. Trey hired a local technician, Kay Gerhardt, telling her that they needed to fill 45 prescriptions daily.

“By the end of the year, we were at over 130 prescriptions per day. When people moved in, we got business from the growth, and our counts went up exponentially to about 280 prescriptions a day,” Trey said.

In 2009, Trey opened Beattie’s Healthmart Pharmacy in Erie. He wanted to expand into compounding, and the location was perfect, with a lab, clean room, and drive-through window.

Trey and his staff found a niche in veterinary compounding. They work with veterinarians in the area, compounding mostly for cats and dogs. Some of the most popular compounds the pharmacy makes are budesonide, cisapride suspension, clopidogrel, methimazole as a transdermal ear cream, mycophenolate, and prednisolone. When flavoring is compatible with the compound, Trey adds chicken flavor to appeal to the dogs’ palates.

But working in a pharmacy is not always fun and games.

“We were robbed at least once a year for 9 years straight,” Trey said. “We were a target for robbers with the opioid epidemic going on.”

To protect the pharmacy and staff, the Beatties brought in Max, a 12-year-old golden retriever. They also brought in Jewel, an Airedale terrier who would bark and growl, though not at everyone.

“The dogs have a good read on people. They know who is good or bad, Trey said. “The dogs put us on guard and confirm our suspicions when we need them to.”

After Max and Jewel died, the Beatties adopted Gracie, a golden retriever rescue dog; Klondike, an English golden retriever named after the Denver Zoo’s polar bear (Klondike and another polar bear, Snow, were the first polar bears born at the Denver Zoo); and Lilly, a bird dog and a foster dog.

“Lilly loves to greet people at the drive-through,” Trey said. “When a car pulls up, a sensor alerts, and Lilly runs to the window and waits for the car, then pops up to greet people.”

Patients love the dogs and often bring them treats or stop to pet them, Trey said.

In addition to being greeted by the dogs, patients are also welcomed into the pharmacy by large murals, which were hand-painted by a friend.

Recently, the pharmacy was the topic of attention with a picture on the UPS Dogs Facebook page.

The picture showed 3 dogs eagerly greeting their UPS driver, Theresa.

The dogs know when she arrives at the pharmacy, immediately barking and scrambling to wait by the half-door, Trey said.

They are excited to greet Theresa, who always brings treats and knows each dog by name.

Besides the friendly dogs, the pharmacy’s employees are engaging and helpful.

“Our customer service is stellar. Our friendly employees are our best asset,” Trey said.

Outside the pharmacy, the Beatties have made an investment raising animals and rescuing and rehabilitating horses. They started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Lily’s Ranch and Rescue. The Beatties take in horses, usually from slaughter auctions and overflow from other rescues, and rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome them. They have a 5-acre property, complete with a farm, where they spend almost $100,000 per year to feed and house the horses. In addition to dogs and horses, the Beatties’ farm is home to alpacas, chickens, cows, donkeys, goats, and sheep.

The Beatties welcome families to visit the farm and the visitors love to bring treats and spend time with the animals. “We have had children with autism and children with Down syndrome. It’s therapy for the children and us as well,” Trey said.

“It’s our retreat,” he said.

In their spare time, the Beatties enjoy acting in community theater. They also train and participate in marathons, half-marathons, and Ironman triathlon competitions.

Karen Berger, PharmD, is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in northern New Jersey.