A Compounding Pet Pharmacy Can Be a Lifesaver

September 20, 2011

Tracey required eye drops in a special bottle. Sapphire refused pills she desperately needed. Bailey turned from a fluffy, gray kitty into a man-eating lion every time he needed a thyroid pill. The medication list for Rufus was so long, I was worried about a dosing mistake.

Fortunately for the veterinarians and our patients at The Animal Medical Center, there is a creative group of pharmacists just up the street from us — Best Pet Rx. This week alone, the group solved the medication problems of all four pets above and more.

Not the typical chain drug store you see on every corner or in every strip mall, a compounding pharmacy has specialized equipment to take an existing medication and formulate it into a patient-friendly “compound.”

Tracey has a water fetish, and at one time drank eight liters a day. In humans, this problem is treated with a nasal spray that comes from a special bottle. Dogs do not think nasal sprays are fun. With a water guzzler like Tracey, we take the human nasal spray and use it as an eye drop, except the bottle doesn’t drop, it sprays. The compounding pharmacy has a special sterile area where the medicine can be removed from its spray bottle and be put in an eye drop bottle to facilitate administration. Two drops a day has brought Tracey down to three liters of water a day, which is 50 percent less than she was drinking.

Sapphire is very smart, very beautiful and avoids pills like the plague. The solution to her medication problem was quite simple: Turn the pills into a beef-flavored liquid, easily squirted into the side of her mouth and readily swallowed because of the tasty beef flavor.

Bailey needed a different solution to his medication problem. Lucky for him, his prescription was for thyroid pills. These pills can be compounded into a gel and applied to the inside of the ear, transporting the medication across the skin and into the bloodstream. Not all medications can be compounded into a transdermal gel, but when they can it is a life saver.

The solution to Rufus’ multi-pill problem is my favorite. The pharmacists took his morning and evening pill allotments and placed them into a gelatin capsule. Each capsule delivered an entire morning or evening dose of all medications. Clearly this was much simpler than giving four pills at a time.

If you are having trouble medicating your pet, ask your veterinarian to work with a compounding pharmacy to develop a custom solution to your pet’s medication problem. No veterinary clinic should be without one.

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This may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog on WebMD.com.

For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Medication Toxicity

August 3, 2010

Late last week, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to women who use the drug Evamist®, made by Ther-Rx Corporation to treat the symptoms of menopause. Exposure to this medication can have negative affects on both children and pets.

Evamist is sprayed on a woman’s arms to reduce hot flashes. Two cases of toxicity have resulted in female dogs and ingestion of the spray was the result of licking or being held in their owner’s arms. Signs of toxicity are not immediate. If contact between the sprayed skin and a pet cannot be avoided, women should cover their skin with clothing.

The Evamist problem is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to medication toxicity and pets. VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance) reports nearly 20,000 claims for poisoning of pets during the 4 years between 2005 and 2009. The number one cause of pet poisoning, you guessed it, is accidental exposure to human or pet medications. The average policyholder claim was $791 dollars per poisoning episode.

Medications poisoning can occur a variety of ways. Pet owners may simply want their sick or painful pet to feel better and administer their own medications. This commonly occurs with owner-administered non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Acetaminophen is another potentially deadly pain reliever. Cats are very sensitive to its effects and can develop anemia, but dogs develop liver problems. Pills are easily dropped unnoticed, but if your pet jumps on every dropped object like it is a tasty morsel, down goes the pill. I’ve seen pets ingest their owner’s antidepressant medications this way and end up in the AMC ICU.

Because pets are superbly clever, they always find new ways to cause trouble. Some inquisitive dog got into trouble by prowling in the bathroom trash. He found a cotton swab used to apply a skin cancer drug. According to Animal Poison Control, the residual drug on the cotton swab was enough to cause severe toxicity, even death. Cats are also sensitive to this drug.

Animal Poison Control is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week service, available to pet owners and veterinarians. The $65 fee provides medical advice to veterinarians and peace of mind to the pet owner. Once the fee has been paid for an episode of poisoning, additional calls related to the poisoning incident can be made without additional charges. The Animal Poison Control number is (888) 426-4435.

The Animal Medical Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency, routine and specialty care: (212) 838-8100.

The Animal Medical Center
For 100 years, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


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