The demand for drugs that treat a variety of diseases and conditions in livestock, pets, and other animals has grown dramatically over the past ten years.
A veterinary pharmacologist helps to develop and test new medicines for use on animals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both pharmacologists and zoologists study the effects of drugs on animals.
The Work of a Veterinary Pharmacologist
Before the roles of pharmacist and veterinarians were combined, a veterinarian prescribed therapy and offered diagnosis, while a pharmacist dispensed and compounded medications.
The hybrid role of a veterinary pharmacologist began to emerge in the last few decades as the need for veterinarians who could administer agricultural pharmaceuticals became more pronounced.
The medications they administer can be used for therapy, diagnosis, or preventive measures. A veterinary pharmacologist also treats diseases in animals by engaging in research and development.
Besides adapting drugs to help animals, vet pharmacists are responsible for administering different dosages via injections or oral medication.
Some veterinary pharmacists even work to create medicated animal treats so that the animal will more readily consume the medication.
Link Between Animal and Human Therapy
Discoveries in veterinary drugs have controlled various diseases, important since so many human diseases emerge from other species.
Understanding and controlling animal diseases with veterinary drugs can help to prevent larger human outbreaks.
Many animal medicines begin as human medicines that must be adapted for use in animals.
How to Become a Veterinary Pharmacologist
Pharmacists who want to work with animals should consider becoming veterinary pharmacologists.
The American College of Veterinary Pharmacists (ACVP) was established to strengthen the relationship between the fields of veterinarians and pharmacologists.
The Society of Veterinary Hospital Pharmacists notes that this type of specialized pharmacist often works in veterinary teaching hospitals. To join the society, you need to be a licensed pharmacist currently practicing in a veterinary institutional setting and engaged in either teaching or research.
Veterinary pharmacists must get additional training in veterinary pharmacology and therapeutics.
The ACVP offers various training programs including feline and canine therapeutics.
The University of California, Davis offers a residency program in Veterinary Clinical Pharmacy.
This program offers training for both pharmacists and vets on the medication needs of animal patients. It also conducts clinical research on the different uses of animal medication.
Check with your school to learn if they offer additional training in veterinary toxicology and pharmacology.