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Pharmacy. Michael Lavoie 6/18/12 Middlesex Community College Veterinary Assistant Program. Types of Drugs. Chemical Name Provides scientific and technical information Is a precise description of the substance Geriatric (nonproprietary) name: Official identifying name of the drug

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Michael Lavoie

6/18/12Middlesex Community College

Veterinary Assistant Program

Types of Drugs

  • Chemical Name

    • Provides scientific and technical information

    • Is a precise description of the substance

  • Geriatric (nonproprietary) name:

    • Official identifying name of the drug

    • Describes the active drug (i.e. famotidine)

    • Written using lowercase letters

Types of Drugs

  • Brand (trade, proprietary) name:

    • Establishes legal proprietary recognition for the corporation that developed the drug

    • Is registered with the U.S. patent office and is used only by the company that has registered the drugs

    • Is written in capital letters or begins with a capital letter and has a superscript R by its name

      • Example: Pepcid AC

Sources of Drug Information

  • Package insert

    • Provided with drugs to reach regulatory requirements

      • Registered trade name, generic name, controlled substance notation if warranted

      • Description or composition statement

      • Clinical pharmacology, actions or mode of action

      • Contradictions

      • Warnings

      • Adverse reactions or side effects

      • Overdosage information

      • Dosage administration

      • Storage

      • How supplied

Sources of Drug Information

  • Drug References

    • Bound book of information on package inserts

      • Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR): human approved drugs

      • Veterinary Pharmaceuticals and Biologicals (VPB)

      • Compendium of Veterinary Products (CVP)

Expiration Dates

  • Expiration dates is the date before which a drug meets all specifications and which the drug can no longer be used

  • Expiration dates are assigned based on the stability of or experience with the drug

  • Expiration dates with drugs that are mixed at the clinic may vary depending on the reconstitution and refrigeration status of the drug

Drugs used in the Veterinary Clinic

  • Veterinary drugs are those approved only for use in animals

  • Human drugs are approved by the FDA and guidelines for their use in food-producing animals is provided in the Compliance Policy Guide

  • A veterinary/client/patient relationship must be established before any medication is prescribed for an animal

System of Measurement in the Veterinary Field

  • House hold system: Lacks stardardization; not accurate for measuring medicine.

  • Metric system: developed in the 18th century to standardize measurement for European countries

    • Prefixes denote increases or decreases in size of unit

  • Apothecary system: system of liquid units of measure used chiefly by pharmacists

Metric System

  • Units are based on factors of 10

  • Base units are meter (length), liter (volume), and grams (weight)

  • Prefixes commonly used:

    • Micro= one millionth of a unit= 0.000001

    • Milli-= one thousandth of a unit= 0.001

    • Centi-= one hundredth of unit= 0.01

    • Kilo-= one thousand units= 1,000


  • Move decimal point appropriate direction based on units

  • Examples:

    • -kg to g= move decimal point 3 places to the right

    • - g to kg= move decimal point 3 places to the left

    • l to ml= move decimal point 3 places to the right

    • ml to l= move decimal point 3 places to the left


  • When converting from larger units to smaller units the quantity gets larger

  • When converting from smaller units to larger units the quantity gets smaller

Temperature Conversions

  • In the Fahrenheit system, water freezes at 32 degrees: water boils at 212 degrees

  • In the Celsius system, water freezes at 0 degrees; and water boils at 100 degrees

  • Comparison

    • C= F - 32/1.8

    • F=1.8C + 32

Dose Calculations

  • Must know the correct amount of drug to administer to a patient

  • Must be in a system of measurement

  • Weight conversion factor: 2.2 lbs = 1 kg

  • Remember that drugs can be measured in mcg, mg, g, ml, l, units

  • Remember that drugs can be dispensed or administered in tablets, ml, l and capsules.

Skin anatomy and physiology

  • The skin is made up of three layers:

    • Epidermis: (the most superficial layer that contains cells but not blood vessels

    • Dermis: middle layer that is composed of blood and lymph tissues, nerve tissues, and accessory organs of skin such as glands and hair follicles

    • Subcutaneous: deepest layer that is composed of connective tissue

Drugs Used for Treating Skin Disorders

  • Topical treatments consist of agents applied to the surface; they affect the area in which they are applied

  • Systematic treatments consist of drugs that are given systematically that affect many areas of the body

Drugs Used in Treating Pruritus

  • Topical antipruritics provide moderate relief of itching (may be used with systemic medication)

    • Topical nonsteroidal antipruritics

      • Local anesthetics such as lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, and pramoxine

    • Soothing agents

      • Oatmeal has soothing and anti-inflammatory effects

    • Antihistamines

      • Products containing diphenhydramine calm pain and itching due to allergic reactions and sensitive skin

    • Topical corticosteroids

      • Variety of products such as hydrocortisone

Drugs Used in Treating Seborrhea

  • Seborrhea is characterized by abnormal flaking or scaling of the epidermis and may be accompanied by increased oil production (seborrhea oleasa) or not (seborrhea sicca)

  • Keratolytics are an important group of antiseborrheics

    • Keratolytics remove excess keratin and promote loosening of the outer layers of the epidermis

    • Keratolytics break down the protein structure of the keratin layer, permitting easier removal of this material

Other Agents Used toTreat Skin Disorders

  • Astringents are agents that constrict tissues

  • Antiseptics are substances that kill or inhibit the growth of microbes on living tissue

  • Soaks and dressings are substances applied to areas to draw out fluid or relieve itching

Ophthalmic Drugs

  • Things to consider when using topical ophthalmic drugs

    • They must be absorbed into the anterior chamber

    • They may be administered at different frequencies depending on whether they are in ointment or solution form

    • They must be relatively easy to administer so that client compliance occurs

Otic Medications

  • Many drug combinations are used in veterinary medicine to treat ear disease, including:

    • Antibiotics

    • Antiparasitics

    • Antifungals

    • Corticosteroids (in combination with anti-infectives)

    • Otic drying agents

    • Otic cleansing agents

    • Otic dewaxing agents

Inflammatory drugs

  • Inflammation is a useful and normal process that consists of a series of events, including vascular changes and release of chemicals that help destroy harmful agents at the injury site and repair damaged tissue

    • Vasodilation increases permeability of blood vessels in the early phase

    • Accumulation of leukocytes, reduced blood flow, chemical release (histamine, prostaglandin, and bradykinin) and tissue damage in cellular phase

  • Severe inflammation must be reduced to avoid additional damage to the body


  • An antimicrobial is a chemical substance that has the capacity, in diluted solutions, to kill (biocidal activity) or inhibit the growth (biostatic activity) of microbes

  • The goal of antimicrobial treatment is to render the microbe helpless (either by killing them or inhibiting their replication) and not to hurt the animal being treated

  • Antimicrobials can be classified as:

    • Antibiotics

    • Antifungals

    • Antivirals

    • Antiprotozoals

    • Antiparasitics


  • Antibiotics work only on bacteria and are described by their spectrum of action (range of bacteria for which the agent is effective)

    • Narrow-spectrum antibiotics work only on either gram-positive or gram-negative bacteria (not both)

    • Broad-spectrum antibiotics work on both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria (but not necessarily all)

  • Antibiotics can be classified as bactericidal or bacteriostatic

    • Bactericidals kill the bacteria

    • Bacteriostatics inhibit the growth or replication of bacteria

Considerations When Using Antibiotics

  • Antibiotic resistance

    • Means that the bacteria survive and continue to multiply after administration of the antibiotic

    • Occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of the agent used to cure or prevent the infection

    • Can develop through bacterial mutation, bacteria acquiring genes that code for resistance, or other means

Behavior Modification Drugs

  • The use of drugs to treat problem behaviors is only a small part of treating animal behavior problems

    • Must correctly diagnose the condition, examine the social conditions, and alter external stimuli

  • Potential side effects of long-term use

    • Liver, kidney, and cardiovascular problems

  • Used extra-label

    • Must have veterinarian/client/patient relationship

Classes of Behavior-Modifying Drugs

  • Anti-anxiety drugs: Attempt to decrease anxiety

    • Examples include diphenhydramine and hydroxzine

  • Antidepressants: are used to treat various mood changing disorders (such as aggression), and cognitive dysfunction in animals

    • Prozac, etc.

  • Hormones: Progestrins and estrogens have calming effects due to their suppression of male-like behaviors

Herbal Medicines

  • Alternative medicine refers to treatments or therapies that are outside accepted conventional medicine

  • Complementary medicine refers to the use of alternative therapies with or in addition to conventional treatment

Types of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

  • Veterinary acupuncture and acutherapy

    • Examination and stimulation of body points by use of acupuncture needles, injections, and other techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions

  • Veterinary chiropractic

    • Examination, diagnosis, and treatment of animals through manipulation and adjustments

  • Veterinary physical therapy

    • Use of noninvasive techniques for rehabilitation

  • Veterinary homeopathy

    • Treatment by administration of substances that are capable of producing clinical signs in healthy animals

Types of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

  • Veterinary botanical medicine

    • Uses plants and plant derivatives as therapeutic agents

  • Nutraceutical medicine

    • Uses micronutrients, macronutrients, and other nutritional supplements as therapeutic agents

  • Holistic veterinary medicine

    • Comprehensive approach to health care using both alternative and conventional diagnostic techniques and therapeutic approaches

General Guidelines for Herbs

  • Ask all clients whether they give herbs or other supplements to their animals

  • Inform clients that herb-drug interactions exist

  • Encourage the use of standardized products from respected manufacturers

  • Use herbal therapies in recommended doses

  • Avoid herbs with known toxicities

  • Do not use herbs in pregnant or nursing animals, the very young, or the very old

  • Accurate diagnosis of the animal’s condition is essential to evaluate all therapeutic options

  • Document all herb or supplement use in the animal’s medical record

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