Maureen Perry of Blacksburg, Va., pharmacy supervisor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Teaching Hospital, has earned diplomate status in the International College of Veterinary Pharmacy. This places her in the company of only 18 other pharmacists throughout the world who have achieved the distinction.

“Ms. Perry becoming a diplomate elevates the level of expertise and credibility of what the hospital pharmacy has to offer our clients, researchers, and anyone seeking the most advanced veterinary pharmaceutical knowledge recognized by a set of criteria based on a world wide scale, said Veterinary Teaching Hospital Administrator Rick Hiller. “Her efforts should be acknowledged and applauded, as they benefit all she comes in contact with.”

Perry oversees a pharmacy that contains an inventory of over 1,000 different items including intravenous fluids and oral and injectable drugs. The pharmacy dispenses roughly 35,000 prescriptions each year for both hospitalized outpatient animals.

The pharmacy also creates custom preparations of special products such as chemotherapy and anesthesia, which provide hospital clinicians with access to precisely developed formulations that may not be commercially available.

They also stock and maintain controlled drug dispensation modules that provide clinicians with after-hours and emergency access to pharmaceuticals. These machines look and operate much like an ATM and allow quick access to a greater variety of medications when the pharmacy is closed.

The medication dispensed by Perry and her staff is used in the treatment of disease and pain in companion animals, research animals, and production animals. This is a responsibility Perry says she takes seriously and fully understands.

“By checking doses, teaching students how to correctly calculate medication, and making sure that the correct medicine is properly prepared and dispensed, I impact the outcomes in our hospital,” said Perry. “Maintaining the health of our animals directly impacts public health in our community.”

Perry and her staff face a unique challenge since they are working with patients that cannot speak for themselves. Veterinary pharmacists and technicians must rely on the expertise of veterinarians and students who have been taught to carefully observe an animal and document their findings in order to “speak” for the patient. In addition, while human and veterinary pharmacists receive the same core training, veterinary pharmacists must learn to calibrate medicine for a variety of species while human pharmacists need only worry about one.

However, she is quick to point out the job comes with its rewards: being involved in the clinical practice of veterinary medicine, teaching students about the correct use of pharmaceuticals, and assisting researchers in planning new and exciting projects.

“Our central location in the hospital is not an accident but a necessity, since our services are essential for many parts of the organization,” said Perry.

Perry graduated from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston in 1983. Prior to joining the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, she worked in human medicine.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

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