Interested individuals may gain certification or continuing-education credits, many of which are available through the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists
When it comes to the care of animals, pharmacists may be in a unique position to offer guidance to individuals.
Some pharmacists have studied veterinary pharmacy beyond compounding and can provide basic counseling regarding the care of animal patients. Pharmacists can advocate and educate on behalf of animal patients and their owners, specifically in the areas of weight management, vaccinations, poisoning treatments, and insurance coverage.
In the event an animal is observed to be 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 fall under the scope of a veterinarian client patient relationship.
There is no provision allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines to animal patients. However, pharmacists may counsel pet owners on the importance of preventing the spread of some viruses by maintaining a clean living area. Also, pharmacists may encourage these individuals to remain compliant regarding vaccines, and dispense vaccination charts.
Pharmacists should also counsel pet owners about what to do in the event of accidental poisoning, such as inducing vomiting using 3% hydrogen peroxide and avoid using syrup of ipecac.
Of note, the most common cause of accidental poisoning is the ingestion of OTC medications, namely, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Furthermore, pharmacists should provide the pet owners with the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center number: (888) 426-4435.
Pharmacists should also encourage pet owners to consider getting pet insurance. Pharmacists knowledgeable of various insurance plans will be able to recommend coverages that can help with pet care expenses. It helpful to be aware of nuances among plans.
Finally, pharmacists should understand that it is an illegal act to counsel about the use of human OTC medications in an animal. For example, if an individual asks a pharmacist if it is safe to give GasX to a dog, the pharmacist must 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 may gain certifications or continuing-education credits, many of which are available through the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists. The University of Florida also offers a 15-week veterinary pharmacy certificate program that is entirely online.
With proper education and training, pharmacists may begin beneficial dialogues with patients concerning their pets to further enrich patient-pharmacist relationships.
A version of this article was originally published by Pharmacy Times®. View the full article and references at pharmacytimes.com.