Use of medicines | BSAVA Library

Use of medicines

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According to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate ( and based on European Community law, a veterinary medicine is defined as: (a) any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in animals; or (b) any substance or combination of substances which may be used in or administered to animals with a view either to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action or to making a medical diagnosis. The most frequently used routes of administration of drugs are: oral, by injection, intraosseous, intranasal, rectal, transdermal, topical, inhalation. This chapter also details the proper handling of veterinary medicines.

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7.3 Methods of restraint for oral administration of tablets and capsules. Cat. Dog.
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7.4 Some examples of hypodermic needles and syringes used for parenteral administration of veterinary medicines.
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7.5 An example of an over-the-needle catheter. : A fully assembled catheter. : The various components comprising: the rigid stylet used to insert the catheter; the Teflon catheter which remains in the vein; the bung which is used to seal the catheter when not in use.
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7.6 Injectable containers. : A typical multi-dose bottle containing a drug in liquid form for parenteral administration. A rubber bung seals the bottle and the needle is inserted through this to draw up the drug at each use. It is good practice to note the date of first use on multi-use bottles as once opened they have a limited shelf-life. : A glass vial designed for single use. The top is snapped off and all parts disposed of in a sharps bin once the drug has been used.
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7.7 Example of a yellow container used for the disposal of ‘sharps’ (such as used hypodermic needles). Once full, the container is sealed and incinerated.
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7.8 The layers of the skin and underlying tissues, illustrating the sites of: (1) intradermal injection; (2) subcutaneous injection; and (3) intramuscular injection.
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7.9 Example of a subcutaneous injection site. The dog’s head is to the right, tail to the left. The injection is made under the loose skin overlying the shoulders, into the skin ‘tent’.
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7.10 Site for intramuscular injection in the hindlimb of the dog.
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7.11 The cephalic vein runs down the anterior aspect of the forelimb. Note how the person restraining the animal raises the vein with their thumb. The person administering the injection uses their thumb alongside the vein to stabilize it while the tip of the needle is inserted.
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7.12 Method for restraining an animal to allow injection into a jugular vein. The animal could also be restrained in lateral recumbency. The thumb of the person administering the injection is used to apply pressure to raise the vein (arrows demonstrate approximate location of the jugular vein).
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7.13 The saphenous vein runs down the lateral aspect of the hindlimb. Usually the animal is held in lateral recumbency and the vein is raised by applying pressure behind the stifle joint (arrows show location of the saphenous vein).
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7.14 Injection into the marginal ear vein on the outer aspect of a rabbit’s ear. The vessel is raised by application of pressure at the ear base. (Reproduced from )
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7.15 Administration of eye ointment in a dog and eye drops in a cat.
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7.16 Administration of ear ointment.
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7.17 A nebulizer. It unscrews so that the drug solution can be placed in the central chamber. One end is then connected to an oxygen supply and the other to a facemask. The oxygen flowing through creates a mist containing the drug, which is inhaled by the animal.
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7.19 Self-contained fume hood used solely for the dispensing of cytotoxic drugs. The hood contains a sharps bin and a filter is attached to the top of the hood. A removable tray allows for easy cleaning.
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