In my (ahem, expert) opinion, there is nothing that veterinary professionals reference more than pharmacology information.
As doctors, you are prescribing drugs to an array of species, sizes, and ages. We also dabble in polypharmacy quite frequently and need to be sure medications are compatible. As nurses, you are frequently left executing prescriptions or treatments and need to have a grasp on compatibility information and be knowledgeable enough to answer various owner questions. And a s veterinary students, the pharmacology information explosion can frankly be overwhelming. As the saying goes, sometimes it feels as though you are “drinking from a fire hose”.
Not only that, but clinical pharmacology is constantly changing as newer drugs come to market and updated research and label claims are released.
So how does one savvy veterinary professional stay up-to-date? Good resources, that’s how.
There are numerous online human websites such as www.drugs.com and www.webMD.com that you may already know about. The following list details our top 10 favorite pharmacology resources for use in veterinary medicine with, of course, a techy emphasis.
1. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook (VDH)
Currently, this is the most popular veterinary drug resource used across our profession.
You likely already use it and know it so I’ll spare you the Zagat-style review. Instead, here are some techy ways to access it that you may not know about:
Plumb’s mobile app: Plumb’s VDH would be a perfect candidate for the Vet Appidemic.
UPDATE (January 2015): Plumb’s is finally available digitally in a high-quality modern format! Read More »
Plumb’s Kindle Version: Now for the good news. You can still gain access to the VDH on your mobile devices by purchasing the book in its Kindle Edition. It is significantly discounted ($48) at Amazon.com but it is not as easy to navigate as the app version (above). UPDATE (December 2014): This is no longer available (see above update).
Plumb’s Online: Now for the even better news. Dr. Plumb has launched plumbsonline.com, an online and mobile-optimized (see photo) way to have access to the VDH. It is still very new but you can gain access by buying an annual subscription (pricing info here) or via VetVine (see below). By subscribing, your resource is constantly updated, eliminating the need to buy new versions of the textbook. There is a 30-day free trial. I still don’t find it as user-friendly as the ePub format (mentioned above), but it is a decent compromise. UPDATE (December 2014): This service is no longer accepting subscriptions (see above update).
Plumb’s via VetVine: VetVine.com offers unique and FREE access to the Plumb’s Online (mobile-optimized) version for upgraded members. Free (basic) VetVine members get 10% off the annual price.
Plumb’s via VIN: Lastly, if you are a VIN member, you can access Plumb’s latest edition on VIN.
2. VIN (and VSPN.org)
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. The Veterinary Information Network (VIN) is likely well-known to most of you. If not check out VMD Tech’s Top 15 Veterinary Websites.
For pharmacology (besides hosting Plumb’s complete 7th edition, noted above), VIN offers an ongoing message board on pharmacology moderated by veterinary pharmacologists. VIN also offers numerous conference proceedings, books, and a specific section on drug resources within the VIN Library. The popular Website of the Week section also contains a drug category.
3. Compendium of Veterinary Products
This is veterinary medicine’s comprehensive reference with detailed prescribing information from manufacturers of all veterinary approved pharmaceuticals and other products.
Need to find contact information for drug manufacturers, gain quick access to product labels or package inserts, or look up drug withdrawal time? This is your go-to reference. It also contains a parasiticide chart and allows you to compare products side-by-side.
It is published by the North American Compendiums and thanks to Bayer Healthcare in the USA (Merck Animal Health sponsors the Canadian version), it is available free in both online and app format.
The veterinary anesthesia support group is also detailed in our Top 15 Veterinary Websites. Check out the VASG for a fabulous collection of drug calculators and excel sheets.
5. ASHP’s Handbook on Injectable Drugs (online/app format)
Dr. Lawrence Trissel’s pharmacology textbook is considered the gold standard for reliable information on injectable medications in human medicine. If you work in a veterinary hospital treating any species where IV drugs are frequently administered together, this reference provides the best information on drug compatibility.
The newest edition is available as an online reference but is expensive ($300-400). However, there’s an app for that. A company called Skyscape offers the HID in a cheaper ($99) and convenient mobile app format.
Want more information? AHFS Drug Information Products Online
6. Epocrates Rx
This is the most popular human medical drug reference. It is available free in an app form for iOS and Android.
Besides a human drug formulary, it contains some useful tools such as the Pill ID system, calculators, interaction checker, and even links to contact information for each drug manufacturer. This is handy for the ER vet looking up human medications ingested by pets.
7. AVMA Pet Food Recall and Alerts
A truly techy way to stay in the know about pet food and product recall notices. You can sign up for alerts on the website or use the preferred super techy way: follow them on twitter @AVMARecallWatch.
8. FDA’s Animal Green Book
This is the go-to resource for a comprehensive list of approved animal drugs in the USA. It is updated monthly and can be found here: FDA Animal Green Book
9. Washington State University Clinical Pharmacology Lab
This is small animal veterinary medicine’s home for MDR1 gene mutation testing (think herding breed sensitivity). It contains resources on how to submit samples for testing and which drugs and dog breeds are likely to be affected.
Find it here: Washington State University Clinical Pharmacology Lab
10. Veterinary Formulary Mobile Apps
There are numerous other apps out there for veterinarians regarding drug formularies. The Timeless Veterinary Drug Index is the newest resource for small animal veterinary professionals written by industry leading specialists in a convenient mobile app form.
For the veterinary profession’s most comprehensive and ever-growing list of apps, be sure to follow VMD Tech’s Vet Appidemic posts.
In the meantime, here are some other common apps to explore:
About the Author
Dr. Caleb Frankel is an ER veterinarian, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. He currently divides his time between two roles: emergency veterinarian at VSEC, a 70-doctor referral hospital in Greater Philadelphia, PA (USA) and the founder of Instinct Science, a new animal health company helping the world’s state-of-the-art veterinary practices streamline their care through medically-driven invoicing and thoughtful automation.
He served as Director of New Product Development at Brief Media for 4 years where he lead the development and launch of products such as Plumb's Veterinary Drugs and New York Vet. Follow Dr. Frankel on Twitter @VMDtechnology.