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Reformulating or Compounding Your Pet’s Medication


We all have pet-related responsibilities that are unpleasant: cleaning the litterbox, picking up poop in the yard – pretty much anything that deals with feces…

But there is another job that has the potential to cause us and our pets so much frustration, that it can even impact health – and that is medicating our pets.

In the past, we have discussed ways to medicate your pets. You can also read about the new ways to medicate without stressing them out. But occasionally, you’ll run into a cat or dog that just flat refuses medication. No matter how tricky you are, no matter how good you are at forcing the issue, they are on to every trick.

And that is when reformulating (compounding) medication can come in handy.

We’ve had several animals over the years who flat refuse to take medication. Combat, our horse, refused to be wormed. He would fight, bite, kick, pull-back, rip hitching posts out of the ground…you get the idea. Cheiss, our senior dog, has become so wise to the many tricks of taking medication that he has taken to carefully chewing every bite. He is so good that he can determine if we’ve hidden a pill or powder in his beloved dehydrated food from The Honest Kitchen. Hephaestion, our demon cat, nearly put me and my husband in the hospital when we attempted to vaccinate the (then) 6-month-old cat.

These animals know every possible pill trick and have no qualms about embarking upon a “seek and destroy” mission if they suspect you’re trying to give them something.

Our lives changed when we realized that most all medications can be easily “compounded”.

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]Compounding Medication[/heading]

The Animal Health Institute (AHI) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) describes compounding as, “the mixing of drugs to fit the unique needs of a patient. AHI and AVMA define it as “customized manipulation of an approved drug or drugs by a veterinarian, or by a pharmacist upon the prescription of a veterinarian, to meet the needs of a particular patient.”


The practice of pharmaceutical compounding goes way beyond adding beef flavoring to a liquid. If you have to give your pets medication and it’s become a daily battle, we hope you’ll take a look at these reformulation options.

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]Choose a Flavor[/heading]

Most pharmacists can simply add a flavor like tuna, beef, chicken, or even blueberries (if your pet enjoys blueberries). Just ask, they’ll deliver. No muss, no fuss.

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]Reformulating into different type of medication[/heading]

This is our personal favorite and it means that a pill can become a topical or a liquid (or anything else). When one of my cats came down with hypersthesia years ago, she was given Valium. She was so difficult to pill, that we finally called the vet pleading for help.

The result was an introduction to a pharmacy who was able to reformulate the drug into a paste, which I was then able to gently apply to her ears several times a day as I petted or groomed her. She was none the wiser and it didn’t stress her out.

[heading style=”2″ color=”#996633″ style_color=”#996633″]Resolve Dosage Problems[/heading]

Manufacturers are primarily concerned about the “bottom line”. So if a medication that you have been prescribed is only available in tiny 25 mg tablets, but your cat needs a 5 mg dose four times a day, you can resolve the problem with reformulation. Not only is it easy to do, it will probably save you a lot of money.

So the next time you need to put your dog or cat on medication, consider asking  your veterinarian if they will consider compounding or reformulation. These are a few of the pharmacies we recommend using.

While most pharmacies can reformulate, we like to give our business to pet-focused pharmacies. Here are a few:

We hope this helps you make medicating your pet a little easier.

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