Compounding the right formula for pets
By Anna Holton-Dean
The compounding pharmacy process has been around since ancient times.
“A hundred years ago, there were no drug companies,” says Dr. Kyle Panter, pharmacist at Innovative Pharmacy of Edmond. “There were no Mercks and Pfizers. Pharmacists made people’s medications. Until the end of World War II, there was only handmade medicine. Manufactured pills are a relatively new concept when you consider the scope of pharmacy’s existence.”
However, as the 20th century progressed, mass drug companies, such as Pfizer and Merck, became prevalent.
Yet while the times may change, the fact remains that every individual is unique with their own specialized needs, and one pill doesn’t always fit all. Because of this, the compounding pharmacy industry has experienced a resurgence.
Specialists in compounding, Innovative Pharmacy was established 21 years ago by Dave Mason, D.Ph., to help meet every patient and customer’s unique pharmaceutical needs. Whether it’s a gluten allergy, a child or pet who refuses to swallow a pill, or a host of other concerns, Innovative Pharmacy can offer a solution.
In addition to compounding, Panter says Innovative Pharmacy also places a strong emphasis on health and wellness. “We believe in using nutrition to heal the body as well,” he says. “We offer a vast line of nutritional supplements, which can help fix a problem instead of slapping a bandage on the symptoms.”
Panter explains that while all pharmacists are trained to compound, the vast majority, up to 99%, choose not to do so professionally. Influenced by one of his professors, he was drawn to the compounding process. At the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, Panter trained under Professor Emeritus Dr. Loyd V. Allen, who also serves as the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding.
Panter began his career at The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa, and from day one, he was compounding for animals—not only pets but also residents of the Tulsa Zoo.
“Pets need medicine too,” Panter says. “I received no training in veterinary medicine in pharmacy school, so I had to learn a lot really quickly.”
When a capuchin monkey with diabetes refused his medication that had a metallic aftertaste, Panter compounded a banana flavor to please the primate, making life easier for the monkey and its owners.
“I noticed serving pets brings a different level of satisfaction and rewards. Human patients can be challenging; however, veterinary patients are pretty simple—when they are pleased, you can tell,” he says.
To better serve animals, Panter decided to pursue certification as a veterinary specialist in compounding, making him one of only two people in the state of Oklahoma to hold the certification.
“Having a veterinary specialist on my staff has been wonderful,” adds Mason. “Every time I hear Kyle speaking to a veterinarian on the phone, I learn something new.”
“That means I have a greater knowledge of how to help vets get the results they want than the typical drug store,” Panter says. “Every species has unique characteristics to medicate them properly. There are things, if a pharmacist is not paying attention, that can be toxic to the pet. For example, many manufactured medications contain additives, such as xylitol, that are toxic to certain animals. Using medications intended for human-use can be dangerous to pets. That’s where my training comes in—to make medications safely and in a manner where they will actually want to take it.
“Certification didn’t teach me anything new about formulating. It is more about how certain species’ genetic makeup and physiology differ. Rabbits have a hind gut that digests their food. We have to be aware of that as practitioners. Or, for example, when treating a skin infection, you can kill them with the wrong antibiotic. … Every species has a different biomechanical process.”
The number one thing Panter wants pet owners to know about veterinary-specialized compounding is the help he can offer to finnicky pets.
“Vets can spend hours trying to deduce and settle on a treatment. Then how do you get it in the animal?” Panter asks. “My job is to make administering the medicine go as smoothly as possible for mom and dad, and, oftentimes, we can do so in three or four different ways. Everyone thinks we’re going to put it in a pill. They stress the animal out, trying to shove it down their throat. It creates stress and has a negative impact on their life as well. You’re usually going to be bitten, clawed and scratched in the process.
“But I can make that medicine into a great-tasting liquid form, drop it in their mouth or have them lick it out of a spoon. I can make a topical form that can be administered on the ear where it’s hairless for many animals; that skin is perfect as it’s very thin with lot of blood vessels right at the surface. It’s perfect for drug absorption, and you don’t have to worry about fighting over oral medication. … For a lot of pet owners, it is a life saver.”
Another benefit of compounding and its various delivery methods is combining multiple medicines into one, which eases the burden on owners, emotionally and financially, who struggle to give their pets multiple doses per day. For example, dogs with congestive heart failure may require three or four different medicines.
“To medicate with three different pills, two or three times a day, that’s a lot. I can combine that into one chew treat that’s chicken or bacon flavored—one treat in the morning and one in evening. From a compliance standpoint, that is lifesaving,” Panter adds. “We had a dog that was within days of euthanasia because he wouldn’t take his medication. We made a bacon-flavored treat for him to take on a daily basis, and now he’s a vibrant healthy dog who will live a few more years. Helping owners give their pets their medicine is my number one concern.”
Innovative Pharmacy offers the added benefit of a cash-only pharmacy, which means they regulate their own pricing and pass the savings on to customers. “Insurance companies behind prescriptions are the most unregulated aspect of the health care industry. We are able to set our prices and make them fair,” Panter says. “We are under no obligation to charge someone $100 for something that should be $20.”
For more information, visit innovativepharmacy.com or call (405) 330-3619.