Interested individuals can obtain certification or continuing education credits, many of which are available from the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists
When it comes to animal care, pharmacists may be in a unique position to offer advice to individuals.
Some pharmacists have studied veterinary pharmacy beyond compounding and can provide basic advice regarding animal patient care. Pharmacists can advocate and educate on behalf of animal patients and their owners, especially in the areas of weight management, vaccinations, poisoning treatments, and insurance coverage.
In the event that an animal is obese or overweight, the pharmacist is advised to recommend that the owner consult a certified veterinary nutritionist. The animal may need a prescription diet, which would be part of a veterinary client-patient relationship.
There is no provision authorizing pharmacists to administer vaccines to animal patients. However, pharmacists can advise pet owners on the importance of preventing the spread of certain viruses by maintaining a clean living space. Additionally, pharmacists can encourage these people to stay compliant with vaccines and distribute vaccination charts.
Pharmacists should also advise pet owners on what to do in case of accidental poisoning, such as inducing vomiting using 3% hydrogen peroxide and avoiding using syrup of ipecac.
It should be noted that the most common cause of accidental poisoning is the ingestion of over-the-counter medications, namely acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. In addition, pharmacists should provide pet owners with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number: (888) 426-4435.
Pharmacists should also encourage pet owners to consider purchasing pet insurance. Pharmacists familiar with the various insurance plans will be able to recommend coverages that can help cover pet care costs. It helps to be aware of nuances between shots.
Finally, pharmacists must understand that it is illegal to advise on the use of over-the-counter drugs in an animal. For example, if a person asks a pharmacist if it is safe to give GasX to a dog, the pharmacist should refer to a veterinarian.
Most pharmacists are not trained in the care of animal patients. However, there are various educational opportunities regarding this subject. Interested pharmacists can earn certifications or continuing education credits, many of which are available from the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists. The University of Florida also offers a completely online 15-week veterinary pharmacy certificate program.
With proper education and training, pharmacists can initiate beneficial dialogues with patients regarding their pets to further enrich patient-pharmacist relationships.
A version of this article originally appeared in Pharmacy Times®. See full article and references at pharmacytimes.com.