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Veterinary Pharmacy

veterinary pharmacist training

How pharmacists can benefit from getting a veterinary pharmacy certificate

When thinking about the responsibilities of a pharmacist, we normally think of activities like counseling patients on their medications or verifying prescriptions from doctors. One area that normally does not come to mind is helping treat animals, but there could always be a possibility in a pharmacist’s career where they need to utilize knowledge concerning veterinary pharmacy.

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Pharmacy Professionals Administering Prescription Medication For Animals

Veterinary pharmacy has been a term most pharmacists hear about throughout their pharmacy careers, but few ever believe they will actually have a chance to treat household animals. Despite those assumptions, there are benefits to pharmacists earning a certificate in veterinary pharmacy to increase their knowledge on the subject. The American College of Veterinary Pharmacy has encouraged expansion into the veterinary specialty by community pharmacies (2). This expansion might be needed more now due to increasing prevalence for specialty veterinary care.


COVID-19 Related Pet Surgence Causes Increase In Veterinary Pharmacy Interest

There has been a rise in household pets in recent years which could be why there is increasing prevalence within this topic. This rise could be due to the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world and had everyone indoors alone. Also, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) did state that if pharmacists were going to be dispensing veterinary medications that they needed to be competent in the information needed and have access to resources to help with dispensing and care (3). This statement is also telling of the need and benefit for certain pharmacists to complete a certificate program. This would allow them to get the information they need to be well-rounded within the world of veterinary pharmacy.


How Pharmacy Professionals Would Benefit From Veterinary Pharmacy Training To Provide Better Patient Care For Our Four Legged Friends

The majority of pharmacists may not have this deep knowledge of veterinary pharmacy because they have not had opportunities to learn about this topic. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) currently does not require Pharm. D. programs to include any information about veterinary pharmacy within their curriculum (3). Articles have shown that the majority of pharmacy schools do not contain veterinary coursework in their curriculum or even have the option for veterinary elective courses in their programs (3). Considering this information, pharmacists could really benefit from earning a veterinary pharmacy certificate because it could provide them with knowledge on this specialty that they were unable to learn during their pharmacy school years. `

Gaining knowledge on this specialty area of pharmacy can be beneficial for pharmacists to enhance their capabilities and also be an additional resource to veterinarians like how they are for physicians. Pharmacists are able to have this unique opportunity to work with animals because they are one of the only health care professional fields that can treat both the human population and the animal population. In order for pharmacists to be helpful in this unique role though, they will need a grasp on common disease states that occur in household animals and how to properly treat them with medication. Therefore, veterinary pharmacy certificates would be even more impactful to help pharmacists be more accessible and useful resources for pet owners and veterinarians.


Using Human Pharmaceuticals On Animals?

The majority of medications that are given to household animals are actually reformulated human medications. If a pharmacist possesses a well-rounded knowledge of veterinary pharmacy and is also able to utilize their expansive knowledge on medications it puts them into a unique position to help counsel pet owners with a better understanding of the situation (3).


Can Animals Take OTC – Over The Counter Medications?

With having this combined knowledge, pharmacists can even help owners select over-the-counter medication that can be used to treat animals. One example of an OTC medication used in animals is diphenhydramine; this is a medication that is a safe option for dogs to take for allergies, travel anxiety, and motion sickness (1). When giving this medication in dogs, there are different components that pharmacists will have to consider like the formulation of the drug because some formulations of diphenhydramine can actually be toxic to dogs (1).


Vet Pharmacy Certifications Can Prevent Medication Errors

Overall, a certificate program could be a great avenue for pharmacists to gain the knowledge they need to help better treat household animals, including counseling their owners and assisting veterinarians when needed. If you believe that after reading about this topic, you want to obtain your own certificate then look no further than here because we have our own veterinary pharmacy certificate! Our Essentials of Veterinary Pharmacy Certificate gives people the insight of a pharmacy professional’s role in the veterinary world with accessible content via on-demand course options.

  1. Burke, A. (2023, July 25).Benadryl For Dogs: What to Know About Using This Medication For Dogs. American Kennel Club.,itching%2C%20sneezing%2C%20and%20hives.
  2. Ceresia ML, Fasser CE, Rush JE, et al. The role and education of the veterinary pharmacist. Am J Pharm Educ. 2009;73(1):16. doi:10.5688/aj730116
  3. Theberge CR, Sehgal I. Bringing More Veterinary Pharmacy into the Pharmacy Curriculum. Am J Pharm Educ. 2016;80(5):89. doi:10.5688/ajpe80589
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A veterinary compounding pharmacy is a specialized type of pharmacy that is licensed and equipped to prepare customized medications for animals. Compounding pharmacies are different from traditional pharmacies in that they can create customized medications by combining or altering existing medications to meet the specific needs of a particular animal.


Veterinary compounding pharmacies play a crucial role in animal healthcare by providing customized medications that are not commercially available, such as flavored medications that are easier for pets to swallow, medications in different dosage forms, and medications that are free of certain allergens or additives. They can also create medications in strengths or concentrations that are not available commercially, which can be particularly useful for animals that require very small or very large doses of medication.


Veterinary compounding pharmacies must comply with strict regulations and guidelines established by the FDA and state pharmacy boards to ensure that the medications they prepare are safe, effective, and of high quality. They must also work closely with veterinarians to ensure that the medications they prepare are appropriate for the specific animal and condition being treated.


Veterinary compounding can also take place outside of the compounding pharmacy setting in community pharmacies where USP-compliant, non-sterile compounding areas have been developed.


There are several reasons why a veterinarian might need to have a drug compounded for a patient. Some of the most common reasons include:


Dosage: Commercially available medications may not come in the exact dosage required for a specific patient, especially in the case of smaller or larger animals that may require very small or very large doses. A compounding pharmacy can prepare the medication in the exact dosage required by the veterinarian for that particular patient.


Form: Some medications may not be available in the appropriate form for the patient, such as a flavored liquid for a pet that has difficulty swallowing pills or a topical cream for a skin condition. A compounding pharmacy can create the medication in a form that is easier for the patient to take or apply.


Allergies: Some animals may be allergic to certain ingredients in commercially available medications. A compounding pharmacy can create the medication without the allergen to ensure that the animal can safely take the medication.


Availability: In some cases, a medication may be temporarily or permanently unavailable from the manufacturer. A compounding pharmacy can create the medication using the active ingredients to ensure that the patient can continue to receive the necessary treatment.


Veterinarians are legally allowed to compound drugs for their patients in some cases, depending on the state in which they practice and the specific circumstances of the compounding. However, the extent to which a veterinarian is able to compound drugs may be limited by their state’s regulations and guidelines, as well as their own training and experience.


In general, veterinarians are allowed to compound drugs for their patients if:


  1. There is no commercially available medication that meets the specific needs of the patient.
  2. The compounded medication is being prepared for a specific patient and not for general distribution.
  3. The veterinarian has the necessary equipment, training, and experience to safely and effectively compound the medication.


However, many veterinarians choose to work with compounding pharmacies rather than compound drugs themselves, as compounding pharmacies have specialized equipment, facilities, and expertise to ensure that the medications they prepare are of high quality and meet all regulatory requirements.

Additionally, working with a compounding pharmacy can save veterinarians time and resources, allowing vets to focus on providing quality care to their patients, while also allowing the compounding veterinary pharmacy to expand its services and revenue streams.


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