The Pharmacy in a Veterinary Clinic

The Pharmacy in a Veterinary Clinic
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  • 0:01 The Pharmacy & Compounding
  • 0:29 Compounding Medication
  • 1:07 Large Veterinary Pharmacies
  • 3:10 Small Veterinary Pharmacies
  • 4:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson will go over the essential points related to the veterinary pharmacy, including what a pharmacy is and how pharmacies differ between large veterinary hospitals and smaller clinics.

The Pharmacy & Compounding

Virtually all veterinary clinics and hospitals stock some sort of medication for their patients. But the kinds of medications they stock, where they're located, and whom it's controlled by can be a bit different from one practice to another. This lesson will take a look at the veterinary pharmacy, a place where drugs are stored, dispensed, and compounded.

Compounding Medication

The definition I just gave, when applied to veterinary medicine, is quite broad as you'll soon realize. There was one word in that definition, compounded, which illustrates the broad nature of that definition. Compounding is the art and science of personalizing medication for a patient. For example, it may be that an animal is allergic to or hates the taste of a certain drug. A pharmacist skilled at compounding drugs can make a special batch of medication that works as the original one was intended to and meets the unique needs of that patient.

Large Veterinary Pharmacies

Compounding usually occurs in veterinary pharmacies located in large private hospitals, veterinary teaching hospitals with a central pharmacy, or in pharmacies that are not directly associated with any hospital that specialize in compounding animal medication. In each case, there is at least one pharmacist on a staff, a person who usually has earned a PharmD, who is licensed to prepare and dispense medication. This means that small veterinary clinics and hospitals will almost never have a pharmacist on staff and will not be compounding any medication. Instead, they'll partner with local pharmacies to do this for them if necessary.

Veterinary pharmacies and pharmacists located in large hospitals will offer services far beyond compounding medication. They will also do other things, such as:

  • Purchase, inventory, store, and secure medication
  • Dispense prescriptions for both inpatients and outpatients
  • Consult with clinicians about appropriate medical therapy if any questions should arise
  • Offer important drug information to clients visiting the hospital

Each hospital pharmacy will contain an area where controlled substances are stored securely. A controlled substance is simply a drug that is regulated by the government and that has a high potential for abuse. For instance, penicillin (an antibiotic) is not a controlled substance, whereas fentanyl (a powerful pain reliever) is.

Controlled substances are stored in a secure location accessible only to appropriate medical personnel. That means staff members like veterinary assistants or receptionists are not allowed to access this kind of medication. This is because it is not unheard of for staff members to try and steal controlled substances for their own use. It unfortunately happens in both human and veterinary medicine even when strict precautions such as this are taken.

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