Pets are Funny People

I love my cats. Every morning, they tear around the house looking for trouble. Any pet owner knows that our animals are not only our pets, they are part of our family.

Trying to medicate our pets, however, can be challenging. Cats, especially, tend to resist being medicated by mouth in ways that involve claws and teeth. I’ve heard stories that you can hide a single tablet in a feed bag of grain and a horse will eat every piece of grain yet leave the tablet untouched at the bottom of the bag. Often, your compounding pharmacist can help with the challenge of administering medication to your pet.

David J. Miller, RPh,

David J. Miller, RPh, Ph.D, FIACP

At Keystone Pharmacy, we have a number of dosage forms and flavors that can turn the medication into a treat for cats, dogs, birds, horses and other pets. Some options include:

Oral suspensions: We have a number of flavors that provide a tasty option for your pet and can mask the flavor of most medications, including triple fish, beef, chicken and liver. Our triple fish suspension is made by putting real tuna, salmon and sardines in the blender. It is “very fishy,” so most cats consider it delicious. For birds and rodents such as guinea pigs, rats and rabbits, sweet fruit flavors tend to work well. For horses, we put the medication in molasses or in a large capsule to hide it from the animal.

Chew treats: We start with soft pet treats that most pets love and incorporate the medication. Pets often don’t know the medication is in the treat and eat it right away.

Transdermal creams: Transdermal creams are designed to administer drugs through the skin. The skin is a very good barrier – its sole purpose is to keep things inside you and keep things from getting inside you. It is the barrier between you and the world. Your pet’s skin has the same barrier properties. We use special technology called “liposomes” to fool the skin into allowing the drug through it. A recent study examined the transport of an anti-seizure drug known as phenobarbital through the skin. The researchers found they could achieve therapeutic, or effective, levels when administering the drug this way. Other studies have shown similar results when drugs are delivered across the skin. Researchers in New Zealand demonstrated effectiveness – although slightly lower blood concentrations – when an anti-thyroid drug, methimazole, was delivered transdermally.

If you are experiencing difficulty administering medications to your pet, call us. We have options and might be able to help.

[1] Delamaide Gasper JA, et al.  Therapeutic serum phenobarbital concentration obtained using chronic transdermal administration of phenobarbital in healthy cats.  J Feline Med Surg.  2014 Aug 6. pii: 1098612X14545141. [Epub ahead of print].  Abstract available at
[1] Hill KE et al.  The pharmacokinetics of methimazole in a novel lipophilic formulation administered transdermally to healthy cats.  N Z Vet J. 2014 Jul;62(4):208-13. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2013.875990. Epub 2014 Feb 28.  Abstract available at
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