Medication Counseling

VTH Policy #Pharm620

Implementation Date: 10/2021

Date of Last Revision: 3/7/2023

Next Review Due: 3/6/2025


Reviewed by VTH Administrative Team: 10/2021

Reviewed by VTH Board: N/A


Approved by VTH Director: 10/2021

Reviewed by Biosecurity Subcommittee: N/A

Subject to modification by the VTH Director without approval.


Whenever a medication is dispensed for the first time or the directions have been modified, the client must receive counseling on the basic information needed to safely and effectively administer the medication.This applies to all medications sent home with a VTH or VMSC client.


  1. Counseling must include:
    - The name and description of the medication
    - The route of administration, dosage form, duration of therapy, and common and/or severe adverse effects of the medication
    - Any special directions for proper use and storage
    - Actions to be taken in the event of a missed dose
    - Precautions and relevant warnings provided by the drug’s manufacturer
  2. Counseling may be provided by a clinician, veterinary technician, vet student, pharmacist, pharmacy technician, or pharmacy student. Student and technician counseling is allowed at the discretion of the overseeing clinician or pharmacist. 

Procedure (if applicable)

  1. When a new medication is being dispensed, the client must receive counseling. Ideally this will involve showing the client the medication and packaging and explaining how to go about measuring the correct dose (if applicable) and administering it. Administration information includes:
    - How much to give (if liquid, how to draw up the correct volume)
    - Should the medication be given with or without food
    - If using food to help give the medication, should certain foods be avoided (i.e. don’t give enrofloxacin wrapped in cheese)
    - Techniques for administering medications by that route to the specific species
    - Safety precautions (i.e. wear gloves when administering Mirataz)
    - If dosing is a range (i.e. every 8 to 12 hours) explain how to determine if it should be given every 8 or every 12 hours
    - What to do if a dose is missed
  2. Include information about what the medication is for and what to expect when using it.
    - What (if anything) will be noticeable if it’s working 
    - When it will start working
    - Potential adverse effects and what to do about them (i.e. stop giving the med, call the vet, give with a small amount of food, etc.)

  3. If the client would like written information or if the person providing counseling feels that written information would be helpful for explaining, Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook is available online for free while in the VTH by going to The client counseling section of each medication has a link to a PDF medication guide that can be printed and provided to the client. Alternatively, contact the VTH Pharmacy staff to ask about additional recommendations for client information.

  4. Conclude the counseling by addressing any questions the client has and explaining the helpful information on the label. It is suggested to point out the following label information:
    - Directions for use
    - Number of refills allowed
    - MR and prescription number (helpful to have when calling for refills or with questions)
    - Phone number to call for refills or with any additional questions

Definitions (if applicable)

Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH): The collective clinical services of the Large Animal Clinic, Midwest Equine, the Small Animal Clinic, and the Veterinary Medicine South Clinic.

Keywordspharmacy, dispensary, medication, counsel, pharmacist, question, advise, client, dosage, inform, therapy, plumb, effect, adverse, treatment, food, administration, administer, direct, warning, precaution, information,   Doc ID124629
OwnerJenny C.GroupUofI College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created2023-03-07 11:53 CDTUpdated2023-03-07 12:08 CDT
SitesUniversity of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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