During the course of their practice, veterinarians often encounter patients with specific requirements. Some animals may need a medication in a dosage that’s not readily available, while others may need a formula that’s easy to administer. Conventional drugs often don’t provide solutions to these problems, but veterinary compounding does. Read on to learn the basics of compounding for animals.

Veterinary Compounding: What Is It?

In veterinary compounding, a drug is changed in ways that make it better for the treatment of animals. Common changes include adjusting a drug’s dosage, adding flavors, concentrating or diluting a drug, and combining multiple drugs into a single dosage.

When Are Compounded Medications Necessary?

When drugs are approved for use on animals, they’re generally recommended because they’re safe. However, when an animal needs treatment and there’s no approved veterinary or human product available, the veterinarian can use compounded drugs to provide treatment. In most instances, the decision to use compounded drugs is made out of medical necessity, and it’s always made within the relationship between the veterinarian, the animal owner, and the patient.

Is Every Pharmacist Trained in Veterinary Compounding?

Not all pharmacy schools include curricula on veterinary pharmacotherapy. A pharmacist working in the field has undergone veterinary-specific training, including compounding, beyond what they received in the conventional pharmacy program.

Do the Same Rules Apply to Animals Used for Food?

When a patient is a food producer, compounding is only used in situations where no other option can treat the medical condition. However, compounding is generally prohibited for food animals. If an animal will still be used as food when the treatment is complete, the drug’s use has to be foreseeably safe.

Does a Compounded Drug Have an Expiration Date?

Yes, they do, but veterinarians should know that expiration dates differ from beyond-use dates. The expiration date for the physical and chemical stability of a compounded drug is determined through stringent performance and analytical testing. Therefore, expiration dates are specific to the particular formula, container, and exposure conditions.

These are just some of the most frequently asked questions about veterinary compounding. For more details, visit Dr. Ben Sykes online.