Animal Hospital Pharmacy: What Is In Your Pet’s Medicine?

Get your dog vaccinated to prevent rabies in dogs

To improve the safety and effectiveness of veterinary medicines, new medications are always being developed. Do you know exactly what happens in an animal hospital pharmacy?

First, it’s crucial to note that prescription medications for pets should be taken with an awareness of the side effects. Only fresh and high-quality pet medication should be used in animal hospital pharmacies. The medications must then only be administered as prescribed. Not all drugs or medications are effective and/or safe for each individual cat (or dog) that takes them.

In human medicine, aspirin is available everywhere without a prescription. Every year billions of tablets are consumed around the world. Rarely, someone may have an adverse reaction to aspirin. Is that to say that everyone shouldn’t have access to aspirin? Is it true that everyone should never take aspirin because some people don’t like it?

The same is true for pet medication. When we have questions about pet medication, it is important to keep our veterinarian informed.

Understanding the terminology used in a pharmacy or animal hospital and how it uses medication is important.

Expiration date

Veterinarians are frequently contacted about expired medications. It is the date that the pharmacist should no longer sell or dispense the medication. The expiration date does not mean the product is no longer effective or useful at that time.

If you bought a flea medicine box with nine tablets on January 1st, but the expiration date is April that same year on the box, you might think that there are only four tablets left in that box. The drug companies should set an expiration date that is well ahead of when the effectiveness may start to diminish. This will allow them to account for the amount time the customer takes to use their medication.

The expiration date is based on the amount of time the buyer will need to finish the medicine after purchasing it.

The Side Effects

Any response to a medication or drug that does not match the intended effect is referred to as a side effect. If an antihistamine was prescribed to reduce nasal congestion caused by an allergy, but the patient experienced a sleepy and sluggish mood, this is considered a side effect.

The side effects of sleepiness are not important for most cats and dogs, as they don’t operate heavy machinery or drive. The side effects of antihistamines may even be beneficial. Perhaps an antihistamine is a great choice for a dog or cat that would rather be slightly sleepy than barking and yowling continuously for 4 hours.

Side effects are anything other than what was intended. But, remember that side effects may be positive, negative, or even insignificant.


Cut it into 1,000 equal parts. Take a raisin and cut it into 1000 equal pieces. Every little piece will be about one milligram. A pound contains 464,000 milligrams. It is important to note that the majority of drugs are measured by milligrams. The instructions on the label should be strictly followed.

The Dose, Strength and the Dosage

Strength is determined by the weight or concentration of the medication. If a dog has been prescribed antibiotics, it may receive a tablet of 50mg strength (50 thousandths of one gram). Other strengths of medication are also available, including 100mg and 200mg.

A dose is the quantity of medication an individual can take in one sitting. The dose of an antibiotic might be 8mg for every pound body weight, while the dosage of another antibiotic might be 25mg.

The dosage is the total amount of medication that has been prescribed for a certain period. The dosage is what you would get if, for instance, your vet told you to feed your dog 2 capsules per time, and then repeat every 8 hours until the entire medication has been consumed. The time period will depend on the strength and type of medication.

Acute Reactions to Medicine

A dog’s (or cat’s) reaction to vaccination is a good example of how imperfect veterinary medicine really is. A potentially dangerous reaction may occur soon after an inoculation. Blood pressure can drop, the heart rate will slow down and the patient may lose consciousness. In some cases, drastic measures may be required to save the life of a patient. I have witnessed this three times during my 27-year career of daily vaccinating dogs and cats.

Some people will say that vaccines for cats and dogs are bad, but not only because of the serious side effects they may cause. They also think that they cause chronic illnesses in future. If I had wished for an ideal world, I’d have never vaccinated all my pets out of fear that they might have a minor imperfection. I don’t know how many canine and feline distemper cases, Canine Hepatitis, or Parvoviruses I would have encountered.

Some of these facts will be different for the holistic community. We should all be open-minded when considering non-traditional methods of treating ourselves or our pets. Historical facts and unmotivated data, however, have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that certain drugs and medications have powerful health-enhancing effects.

If you’re looking for the perfect world, where all is safe, predictable, and efficient, then you will not find it in a pharmacy. You won’t get that in any place.