Ignite Magazine | Fall 2017

Page 24

ALUMNI AT WORK

A FLAVOR FOR EVERY PATIENT BY ELAINE GUREGIAN

H

ow much do Americans love their pets? More and more each year. In 2016, we spent more than $14 billion on supplies and over-thecounter medication, plus another $15.95 billion on veterinary care. But when pets get sick, it doesn’t matter how much the devoted owner is willing to spend on medicine if the pet won’t take it—which is not so different than with humans, if you think about it. “How can I trick my dog into taking his medicine?” That was the most common pet-related question that customers asked Claire Stall, Pharm.D. (’17) when she was a NEOMED student working at Klein’s 24 I G N I T I N G

Pharmacy in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Stall is quick to provide just one of the many ways she has learned: If a dog needs the antibiotic Metronidazole, it can be given a formulation with benzoate (a salt) added to reduce the naturally bad taste. (Don’t even think of giving the same compound to your cat, though; it’s toxic to felines.)

MAKING THE MEDICINE GO DOWN All business when she talks about compounding medicine—the process of custom-formulating a prescription to the patient’s specific needs, whether the patient is human or another species—Stall’s face

T H E PA S S I O N O F P H Y S I C I A N S , P H A R M A C I S T S A N D H E A LT H C A R E R E S E A R C H E R S

softens like any other pet owner’s when asked why she pursued special training in veterinary compounding. “I’ve always loved animals,’’ she says with a big smile. A pharmacist needs to consider multiple factors when compounding for animals, much as they would for people, says Stall: Which compounds are safe and effective? Is the patient allergic to the socalled fillers or dyes used in some medicines? Which medications will build up harmfully over time? The toughest question of all: Can the owner actually persuade the animal to take the medicine? Stall rattles off a list of preferences that Illustration: Dave Szalay