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If you are studying for a pharmacist’s career, or even if you’ve finished a degree in animal science and you’re not sure how to apply it, a thoroughly rewarding career in veterinary pharmacy could be yours.
You’ll need to do a postgraduate master's course if you have the animal science degree but, technically, a qualified pharmacist can go straight to work thanks to their General Pharmaceutical Council accreditation – although you might benefit from the extra study.
Once you have the confidence and the paperwork, your skills will be in hot demand as it takes a special kind of pharmacist to work with animals.
Humans might all be different, but in terms of biology we are basically the same. Animals, though, offer a vast amount of challenges the veterinary pharmacist must overcome on a daily basis. It's one of those jobs where you have to think on your feet.
Many of the drugs are adapted from human medicine and it’s up to the skill of the individual pharmacist to make sure the compounds are correct. Obviously the equation will be very different if you’re dealing with a puppy, a monkey, a lizard or a camel.
A veterinary pharmacist faces a whole host of challenges each and every day that you simply won’t get behind the counter in the local high street pharmacy – that’s what attracts the highest calibre pharmacists to this unique branch of the industry: the fact that no two days are the same and you have to come up with ways to medicate the animals.
It’s not always a simple case of providing a tablet, sometimes you have to find a way to give it to the animal, too. This can mean conning a gorilla into taking medication, or figuring out how to adapt a human drug for a pig and ensure that it isn’t wasted.
These are all skills you will acquire, refine and perfect in your time as a veterinary pharmacist, so if your interest has been piqued, then take the next step and get moving on the career you might never have thought about.