More and more pharmacies (including retail chain, independent and online) are dispensing pet medications. Traditionally, this niche was filled primarily by veterinarians, but now a growing number of pet owners are choosing to fill their animal companion’s prescriptions at the same pharmacy where they get their own personal medications or from online retailers. Price savings are an incentive for this.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pet prescriptions can be acquired “from your veterinarian if they keep it in stock,” “your veterinarian can write (or call in) a prescription to a local pharmacy that stocks the medication” or “your veterinarian can provide a prescription so you can get the medication from an online pharmacy.”
What’s Best for Pets?
The AVMA does state, however, there are certain reasons why pet owners should still consider getting their animals’ meds directly from their vet, including the fact that he or she can directly answer any questions and demonstrate how to administer the medication.
But fortunately there are pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that are specially trained to work with animal pharmaceuticals. For example, the Apple Valley Pharmacy in Warwick, New York is expanding its services to not only provide medications for humans, but also animals, including pets, wildlife and zoo animals.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from Apple Valley, including the owner of the pharmacy Ann Marie Cloutier (PharmD) and pharmacy tech Joey Graziadio, completed veterinary pharmacy courses through the American College of Veterinary Pharmacy. Since Apple Valley has a compounding lab, their training covered preparing medications for animals.
“Making the treatment of diseases and disorders in animals easier and more efficient for veterinarians is a main priority in our compounding lab.”
“Cloutier will now expand services offered at Apple Valley Pharmacy to veterinarians and their clients and patients to include compounded treats formulated by combining specific medications with organic fruit,” reported The Chronicle (September 11, 2013), adding that ointments, lotions, medicated treats, inhalation, chewable, flavoured and sugar-free forms, as well as alternate dosages and meds that are not available commercially, are among the veterinary preparations created and dispensed at Apple Valley.
Pharmacy technician Graziadio, as quoted by The Chronicle, said, “Making the treatment of diseases and disorders in animals easier and more efficient for veterinarians is a main priority in our compounding lab at Apple Valley.”
Veterinary Opportunities for Pharmacy Technicians
If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, or are already one, and love the idea of helping animals, there are several opportunities to work in a setting that dispenses and/or prepares veterinary medications. These range from working as a compounding or pharmacy technician at a pharmacy that focuses solely on animal medications, to at an animal hospital pharmacy or at a pharmacy that dispenses/prepares both human and pet medications.
But hold yourself to a high standard. Make sure the places you are applying to work at have pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that possess relevant veterinary pharmacy training. Express your interest in similar training as well, or take it upon yourself to complete relevant continuing education, such as those offered by some colleges, universities or the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists/American College of Apothecaries.