Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Veterinary Pharmacy

     Now that I've got that NECC debacle out of the way, I'd like to talk about something else I'm passionate about besides justice for companies that overstep their bounds: animals. Every since I was a little kid I have loved animals. Not just the cute and fuzzy ones either, I mean ALL animals. Growing up my dad had snakes and iguanas and I've had my share of "creepy" pets, too. I used to dream that I would grow up to be Dr. Dolittle (the old school Rex Harrison Dr. Dolittle). Maybe I should have been a veterinarian, but I have found a way I can fuse my interest in chemistry and pharmaceuticals with my love of animals: veterinary pharmacy.
     Veterinary pharmacy is a small, but growing field right now. Many veterinary pharmacists work with cattle, pigs and other livestock. They are mostly working large scale providing antibiotics and the like for animals that will end up on the dinner table. I have also seen quite a few veterinary pharmacists that work with race horses and some that work with the companion animal population. There are a very lucky few who get jobs being pharmacists for some of the larger zoos in the country. They work closely with veterinarians to care for and treat exotic species from all over the world.
     Every once in awhile I will look at job search websites for jobs in veterinary pharmacy and I don't find a whole bunch. It seems like this field is still very small, but hopefully it will continue growing. Pet owners now treat their animal companions like part of the family. When these family members become sick they don't go to a regular MD, so why would a regular pharmacist be able to best serve them? I believe in the future animal pharmacists will be more common. They will offer a unique service, because they don't only understand the mechanisms of action and kinetics of a drug; they also understand how it will work on various species. One of the main jobs of veterinary compounders is making sure the drug is delivered in a vehicle that is appealing to the animal. I'm sure everybody has had the unfortunate experience of trying to give a dog or cat a pill they don't want. The University of Florida offers an online class in veterinary pharmacy. I am planning on taking it this fall and hope to learn more about this exciting career path.

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