How to Choose a Veterinary Compounding Pharmacy
A veterinary compounding pharmacy can be a wonderful answer to the short-comings of the one-size fits all approach in manufactured medications. Commercially available medications do not always meet the needs of patients. Especially in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians deal with different species, in vastly different sizes, with unique likes/dislikes, allergies, etc.
When a pet owner is provided a prescription for a pet medication, it is important to ask questions and advocate for your pet. Will you be able to adequately administer the medication? Will the act of administering the medication have adverse effects on your pet? What are alternative options for administering the medication? It is important to work with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet is getting the medication they need, without added stress.
Some veterinarians regularly refer their clients to a veterinary compounding pharmacy. The pharmacy will work with the pet owner (based on the prescription from the veterinarian) to figure out the best way to administer the medication, in the correct dose. Other veterinarians will leave it up to the pet owner to research a pharmacy that they feel comfortable with. In either case, pet owners should be aware that in most states (40 to be exact, including California, Arizona and Colorado) there are specific laws, regulations or policies requiring veterinarians to provide a written prescription upon request in most circumstances.
[View the complete list of states and the corresponding laws/regulations/policies here: www.avma.org/Advocacy/StateAndLocal/Pages/veterinary-prescription-orders.aspx]
With a written prescription, pet owners are free to fill their pet’s medication at a pharmacy of their choice. Many pharmacies do compound medications for animal use, however, a veterinary specific compounding pharmacy will be able to offer the most options and have the most practical advice for pet owners.
Options can include customizing the strength of the medication to the exact strength that is required per dose. This would avoid having to cut pills and/or give multiple pills each administration. Veterinary compounding pharmacies can also flavor medications to appeal to an animal’s natural palette. From flavored oral suspensions to flavored chews, a veterinary compounding pharmacy can even account for any known or suspected food allergies.
It is also important to research the pharmacy of your choice in order to ensure that the pharmacy is licensed, has a good reputation and can meet your pet’s specific needs. Online pharmacies are a dime a dozen and pet owners should do their due diligence to make sure that they use a reputable pharmacy.
One easy safety check is whether or not the veterinary compounding pharmacy has a website that has the .pharmacy verification. Does the pharmacy’s website end in .pharmacy? If it does, you can be assured that that pharmacy has been deemed safe and credible by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
[View the .pharmacy approved list of Veterinary Pharmacies in the US here: https://safe.pharmacy/buying-safely/#USvets]
As always, your veterinarian is your best partner in the health of your pet. Work together to determine if your pet can benefit from the services of a veterinary compounding pharmacy, and which pharmacy is right for you.