Pharmacists’ Knowledge of Veterinary Pharmacotherapy and the Impact of an Educational Intervention

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Abstract

Background: To date, there is very limited data regarding pharmacists’ preparedness to handle animal prescriptions. No previous studies exist examining the impact of a veterinary-pharmacy–focused educational intervention. Objective: To assess pharmacists’ baseline knowledge of veterinary pharmacotherapy, as relevant to their professional responsibilities, and assess the impact of a piloted educational program. Methods: Two studies were conducted. The first study involved a statewide assessment of pharmacists’ knowledge of veterinary pharmacotherapy; the second study assessed the impact of an educational intervention to improve pharmacists’ veterinary pharmacotherapy knowledge base. Participants in the pilot study were assessed via pretest and posttest. Results: The statewide sample of participants (n = 602) received a mean score of 5.9 (SD = 2.6) on a 17-item questionnaire. There were no discernible differences in participants’ knowledge based on the subject matter of the question (pathophysiology, dosing, counseling, compounding, legality, and toxicology). Using the same 17-item questionnaire, pilot study participants (n = 60) received a mean score of 5.2 (SD = 2.4) on the pretest and 16.6 (SD = 0.7) on the posttest. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that a substantial portion of pharmacists lack the knowledge needed to process and dispense the veterinary prescriptions most commonly encountered in community pharmacies. Furthermore, this study shows that implementation of an educational intervention can increase pharmacists’ knowledge of core concepts necessary to safely care for animal patients.

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