Has Your Vet Prescribed Compounded Pet Medicine? Helpful Information For Pet Owners

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Taking a beloved pet to the veterinarian can be a lot like taking your child to the pediatrician. Their health history is updated, and a physical examination is performed along with any needed scans, X-rays and tests. Once enough information has been gathered, the veterinarian initiates a discussion to discuss their findings, provide relevant information about the pet's health and make recommendations for future treatment and basic care. If your pet has an illness or condition that requires it, prescriptions for medication are given along with helpful advice for administering the medication correctly at home. 

While most medications that your vet prescribes are available for pickup at the vet's office or clinic, there are times when you may be given a prescription for a compounded pet medicine. If you are unfamiliar with compounding pharmacies, this information will help you understand the process and offer you potential reasons why your pet's veterinarian may be prescribing a compounded medication. 

Compounding medication is not a new process

In earlier times, before there were large, fully stocked pharmacies, medications for humans and animals had to be made by the local doctor or pharmacist. Stocks of common medication ingredients were kept on hand and mixed (compounded) as needed, according to a doctor's or veterinarian's specific orders for each patient. At times the medications were altered to make them easier for the patient to take, such as when a bitter medication was mixed into a sweet syrup to make it easier for the patient to swallow. 

Today, with most medications for humans and animals available in pre-mixed, pre-measured capsules, pills, liquids, powders, injections and boluses, there is less need for compounding medication. It is, however, still routinely relied on when desired medications are unavailable or when changes need to be made to allow easier dosing. 

Vets continue to utilize medication compounding

Unlike doctors, who now rarely prescribe compounded medications, veterinarians often utilize compounding to enable them to create a more palatable form of the drug needed by their patient. Canines, felines and other animals have very developed olfactory senses and often balk at the smell of some types of medications, even when their owner has attempted to hide the medicine inside a bit of cheese or other favorite bite of food. 

The process of compounding the medication can make the medication more appealing to these finicky pets. For example, pets that have been prescribed a broad-spectrum antibiotic may shy away from taking it because of the strong odor. A compounding pharmacy, however, can add the antibiotic into a formula to create a tasty, chewable treat that the pet will enjoy taking according to their prescribed treatment schedule.  

Compounding provides an alternative to oral medication

Veterinarians sometimes get calls from pet owners who lament that their pet is too stubborn to willingly take their oral medication as directed, sometimes even when it has already been compounded into the form of a chewable treat. There are also pets who are dealing with a serious illness or condition and are unable to swallow an oral medication. Compounding pharmacies can provide the answer to these situations through the creation of a transdermal form of the medication.

Instead of trying to trick a pet into taking their medicine orally or having to potentially deal with nausea or vomiting issues, transdermal forms of some medications can be compounded to the correct dosage and then applied to the animal's skin. When used within prescribed timeframes and in the correct dosages, transdermal forms of compounded pet medicine are equally as effective as oral pills or liquids and much easier to administer.  

To learn more about compounded pet medication and all the ways in which it can benefit your pet, ask your veterinarian to refer you to a pharmacy that offers compounded pet medication in your area.