• Take the Next Step In Your Career with freeCE's Essentials of Veterinary Pharmacy Specialty Certificate Program!
    Earn 6 hours of Continuing Education in this foundational veterinary pharmacy training program

    Now offered in our new interactive learning platform! To make learning even easier, this certificate has been developed to offer a novel topic through interactive matching and sorting activities, on-demand video content, and an easy-to-access mobile-friendly platform.


    Pharmacists are the only healthcare professionals legally allowed and expected by society to provide care for all species. Over 75% of community pharmacists encounter animal prescriptions in their routine practice, but fewer than 25% of pharmacy schools offer didactic curriculum on this topic, so many pharmacists and techs are deficient in this knowledge. Additionally, the growing number of pets in U.S. households during COVID has created a shortfall of veterinarians to provide timely and comprehensive care, presenting an opportunity for community pharmacists to expand services to the animal population with only 6 additional hours of training.

    Program Description

    Essentials of Veterinary Pharmacy will provide community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with the fundamentals needed to accurately and safely fill prescriptions for companion animals (dogs, cats, horses) that they may encounter in daily practice. Learners who complete this certificate program will have a better understanding of common misunderstandings that may occur with veterinarian prescriptions, how federal laws govern the use of medications in animals, and the basic physical characteristics of companion animals and how their unique pharmacokinetic traits may impact medication use and misuse.

    Learners will also be better able to prevent toxicologic emergencies by anticipating risks for accidental ingestion of substances dangerous to pets, avoid communication-related errors and those related to abbreviations that may lead to over or underdosage of prescribed active ingredients, and employ appropriate drug information resources to provide confident counseling tips to veterinary clients and other members of the veterinary team.

    Introduction to Veterinary Pharmacy Practice | 2 Credits
    The introductory module consists of four sub-units to provide baseline knowledge about the veterinary team, basic considerations involved in filling veterinary prescriptions, common errors that occur with veterinary prescriptions, regulatory guidance for use of medications in animals, and practical aspects of the veterinary fill with regard to location, economics, and drug information. The pharmacist and technician will be better informed about veterinary abbreviations and necessary information about the different species that must be collected for the animal patient profile, as well as key drug information resources they should have available when preparing the veterinary prescription.

    Physical Characteristics, Pharmacokinetic Aspects, and Toxicology Considerations of Dogs, Cats, and Horses | 2 Credits
    The second module is divided into two sub-units and provides a deep dive into how the unique physical traits of dogs, cats, and horses contribute to how they perceive, ingest, and process medications. Clinical pearls regarding medication absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination in dogs, cats, and horses will be covered. Risk factors for adverse events by species will be highlighted, as well as causes of the most common calls to animal poison control centers, so that the pharmacist and technician can better help pet parents anticipate toxicity risks. Downloadable resources are provided to help reinforce the information gained in practice.

    Preventing Errors in Veterinary Pharmacy & Counseling Considerations | 2 Credits
    The third module is divided into two sub-units and delves into a more detailed study of error prevention and how to incorporate your newly gained knowledge into counseling pet parents and others on the veterinary team. Because there is little overlap in the geography and curriculum of most pharmacy and veterinary medicine schools, pharmacists and veterinarians often don’t interact until there is a problem with an animal patient prescription. This may lead to a lack of confidence and errors. Module 3 will provide you with practical tips to prevent common errors related to miscommunication, look alike/sound alike products, dosing, and medication administration concerns. The pharmacist and technician will also learn tips to better assist the pet parent and respond to common questions.

    Essentials of Veterinary Pharmacy

    Faculty Photo 1Lauren Forsythe PharmD, DICVP, FSVHP

    Dr. Forsythe is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and the Pharmacy Service Head at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. She is also a diplomat of the International College of Veterinary Pharmacists. Dr. Forsythe graduated from the University of Findlay, College of Pharmacy in 2015 and completed her veterinary pharmacy residency at Purdue’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

    Some important notes to remember regarding the Essentials of Veterinary Pharmacy Certificate program:

    • Registration costs $197 for members, $297 for non-members.
    • Once you have completed the specialty certificate, you are eligible to claim a shareable digital badge. Learn more about badges here.
    • This program's final exam consists of 45 unique multiple-choice questions.
    • You have only three (3) attempts to pass the final exam.
    • You may not leave the final exam in the middle and return at a later time.
    • The final exam has no time limit; however, we recommend that you write the answers down in case you lose your Internet connection or get interrupted while taking the exam.
    • You will earn continuing education credit as you complete each activity, totaling 6 credits upon final completion
    • You will have 12 months to complete the specialty certificate before it expires from your account.
    • This specialty certificate is NOT accredited for nurses.


    Essentials of Veterinary Pharmacy Certificate Module 1
    Essentials of Veterinary Pharmacy Certificate Module 2
    Essentials of Veterinary Pharmacy Certificate Module 3