Pharmacists Play A Prominent Role in Your Pet's Care

ann philbrickWhile pharmacists are well known for helping people with their medications, it’s often overlooked that they play a primary role in animal healthcare. Veterinarians prescribe animal medications, but pharmacists have had an increased role in preparing and dispensing them.A collaborative approach between pharmacists and veterinarians is important because it allows pharmacists to have a greater role in dispensing medications so veterinarians can focus on caring for animals.

Associate Professor Ann Philbrick teaches a one-of-a-kind course that focuses on choosing the best medication therapy for companion animals, like dogs and cats. While it’s not a requirement that pharmacists take a course that focuses onanimal health, Philbrick says it’s important or pharmacists to understand how to dispense and select medications for animals.

“The public expects pharmacists to be drug experts,” Philbrick said. “Having this knowledge about animals ensures a pharmacist would know how to treat their pet.”

Your local pharmacist can dispense your pet’s medications. When you are looking at medications for your pet, it’s important to understand: Human medications can often be given to animals.

Human medications may be safe for animals. Also, certain medications deemed unsafe for humans can be considered safe for your pet. For example, a medication might be unsafe for humans because it increases the likelihood of a stroke, but in animals that have completely different cardiovascular systems and shorter life spans, the medicationmight be completely safe. It’s important for pharmacists to know which medications will work for animals, and identify safe amounts that are appropriate for pets.

But keep in mind: not all human medications are safe for your pet. While your pet is a member of the family, it is not a “little human” with respect to medications. It has a different body, and it will react differently to medications.

“Many things that are just fine for you to take could be harmful to your pet,” Philbrick said.

Always talk to a pharmacist before giving your pet medication.If you’re unsure about your pet’s medications, just ask your veterinarian or pharmacist. Communicating with your pet’s care team will help them find the proper treatment for your furry friend.“Pharmacists are drug experts and want to make sure that your pet’s medications are safe and effective.” Philbrick said. “Pharmacists want your pet to be healthy!”