All pharmacy students in the UK have a few lectures on veterinary pharmacy – the law, best practices and how to check prescriptions, for example – but the profession is never really explored in any great depth.
If you love animals and think you’d like to apply your skills as a pharmacist to the veterinary profession, carry on reading as we take a look at the career prospects.
Pre-registration veterinary training
There are very few veterinary opportunities for a pre-registration pharmacist, although they are available if you look hard enough, or contact vets directly.
Typically the placements involve spending six months in a hospital or community pharmacy – as required by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to experience the patient interactions necessary for the pre-registration exam – while the final six months of the year will be spent working in a veterinary practice learning how, as a pharmacist, you can have a role in the care of animals.
Working in a veterinary practice
The most common way to experience the veterinary profession is to work within a veterinary practice. There are lots of veterinary surgeries in the UK and so finding a placement, or work experience, shouldn’t be too difficult.
However, not all practices are required to employ a pharmacist, and only the larger surgeries will do so. Most veterinary dispensing is done through the vet, or prescriptions at a community pharmacist, and so the role of a pharmacist working directly with a vet is limited – although such positions do exist.
Working in supply
Veterinary medicines have their own specific legal classes, so pharmacists – as medicines experts – are required in the supply chain.
Whether it’s organising the safe delivery from a pharmaceutical company to a vet, or consulting with a vet on the proper storage of medicines, there is huge need for pharmacists.
All these jobs require a qualified pharmacist, and you’ll normally have worked in a similar area previously.
The most common jobs a pharmacist could hold within the veterinary industry are outlined above, but there are many other opportunities – even within these few roles there is a huge variation.
If you think the career is for you, then keep an eye out for relevant job postings, as knowing what’s available is a good first step.