One very important part of a veterinary hospital that is often overlooked is the pharmacy. The veterinary technician is often given the task of dispensing medication and printing labels for medication. Just as the veterinarian is responsible for dictating the correct medication and dosage, the vet tech is responsible for making sure the right medication is dispensed with a correct label. Just like a medication label for humans, the medication for animals often contains certain information on the label:
- Client name
- Pet name
- Medication and strength
- Proper dosing instructions
- Drug expiration date
The importance of a proper label
It is very important for the veterinary technician to properly label any medication dispensed. Ultimately the responsibility will fall on the prescribing veterinarian and the technician that filled the medication if anything is mislabeled. So it is important to have someone else double check the medication and label before dispensing to the client. Any changes in the prescription dose for the patient could lead to a sick animal, something that no one wants!
The veterinary technician will also need to count the dispensed medication. Some hospitals may have an automated counter for pills and tablets. If the hospital does not have an automated counter the vet tech is responsible for making sure that the correct amount of medication is dispensed. Recounting should not be frowned upon and should be encouraged!
There are many controlled drugs that may be present in a veterinary hospital. All controlled drugs should be locked in a secure location of any vet hospital and only accessible by certain individuals in the hospital. Often times only veterinarians and supervisors have access to the controlled drugs. Even though that may be the case, most veterinary technicians are still in contact with the controlled drugs at least for dispensing to clients. It is very important for the veterinary technician to properly log the controlled drugs in their respective logs. All hospitals are required to keep logs for controlled drugs with certain information that shows the amount dispensed and the person who dispensed the medication. That is why it is so important for the veterinary technician to be sure that everything is correct when dispensing controlled drugs. Any missing medication should be immediately reported to a supervisor or veterinarian.
There may be times when the veterinary hospital does not have the proper medication that needs to be dispensed for a patient. In this case, the veterinary technician may be asked to call in a prescription to a human pharmacy. When calling in a prescription it is important for the veterinary technician to properly dictate the prescription to the pharmacy. Often the vet tech will need to provide the information that would be on a label as mentioned above. It is also important for the vet tech to speak slow and clearly to be sure that everything is correct for the medication.
Explaining directions to the client
Many clients may be confused about the directions or medication that is dispensed for the client. It is important for the veterinary technician to be able to explain what a common medication does to help their pet. Things such as antibiotics, muscle relaxers, pain medication, and many others. When going over a medication with the client, the vet tech should make sure that the owner clearly understands how and when to give the medication so that the pet in question receives the proper treatment for their ailment. This is another area where client interaction is important!
So in closing, remember that the veterinary technician is responsible for properly dispensing medication or dictating prescriptions to a pharmacy, as well as explaining to owners the proper way to medicate their pet. The pharmacy is just another area where the veterinary technician helps to keep animals healthy and owners happy!