Pet owners know that getting the right pet medication for their dogs – and getting their dogs to take it! – is easier said than done. If commercially available veterinary medicine is not available in the dosage forms or levels that are best for your dog, what can you do? You might turn to compounded prescriptions.
We will break down what compounded medications for dogs are and explore the benefits you might see from using this type of veterinary medicine.
What is a Compounding Pharmacy?
In a nutshell, compounding pharmacies are pharmacies that provide special services for their patients: they make medication for pets whose needs aren’t met by commercially available versions of prescribed medicines or preparations. Compounding pharmacists can create new medicines that fit specific requirements.
For example, say that your pet requires a small, liquid dose of a commercially available drug, but the commercial version only comes in large tablets. A compounding pharmacy can take the large tablet version of the drug and make small, easy-to-digest liquid compounded medications for your pet.
For another example, perhaps your dog is allergic to an ingredient in an approved, commercially available drug. A compounding pharmacy can remove the allergy-causing ingredient and make a substitute drug for your dog using the remaining ingredients.
How Can Compounded Medication Help?
When a pet owner or veterinarian suggests visiting a compounding pharmacy it is usually due to a complicating medical issue. Specialized medicine for your dog is a good fit when your beloved pet is not capable of swallowing, has to take a variety of medications, or is just unwilling to consume a particular medication. The most common reason is a pet’s inability to take over-the-counter medications.
Compounded medications for your dog can help your pet receive the medical care and long-term prescription medication they need without risking allergic reactions or causing undue discomfort. Veterinary compounding medications can help with:
- OTC medication doesn’t agree with their system
- Avoiding allergic reactions by eliminating allergens from prescription pet medication
- Helping your dog to take only as much medicine as they require by minimizing dosage if commercial dosage levels are too high
- Making prescription medication more flavorful for your dog by changing the taste to something more palatable, such as a beef chicken formula, if taking commercial medication is difficult
- Making prescription pet medication easier to take, such as by making a compounded medication skin-penetrating (transdermal) gel from a drug that normally comes in tablets or pills
- Mixing one or more medications together for faster absorption or to make things easier for your dog
- Providing medication when your dog is suffering from a medical condition and there is not an FDA-approved veterinary product to treat the issue currently available
- Providing medication more quickly if commercially available versions of a specific medication would take time to ship to your home
- Saving you money in some instances, such as by mixing multiple active ingredients together from pills into a single compounded medication with a single price tag
Are Compounded Medications Safe?
YES! Like all medical professionals, compounding pharmacists focus on improving the health of their patients above all else, even if those patients are cats or dogs.
It is important to consider compounded medication when commercial products are unavailable, specific dosages or strengths are required, or one particular dosage form would be preferred over another. In addition, only FDA approved ingredients should be used in your particular medication.
Lastly, any pet owner should make sure they know how to administer any compounded preparations correctly before leaving the veterinarian’s office or compounding pharmacy.
Is Veterinary Compounding Right for Your Pet?
It might be! Contact your veterinarian and talk to them about compounding medications if you need help solving one of the above issues. They might be able to find a compounded medication solution that works for you and your dog or point you toward alternative options.