Specials database

Veterinary specials are unlicensed bespoke formulations that can help solve a problem when an animal needs a medicine but no suitable licensed product available. This is a unique database of veterinary specials for small animals. Its purpose is to help vets locate a suitable product when necessary. It can be searched by generic drug name, formulation, therapeutic category and company. To learn more about using specials, see our e-learning module on Specials.

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Leptospira vaccines

By doing this module you will:

  • understand the naming system for Leptospira and the relevance to vaccination;
  • be aware of the limitations of serological testing in determining the type of infecting Leptospira and the immune status of dogs;
  • understand what is known about the types of Leptospira affecting dogs in the UK;
  • understand the features of the different vaccines and how they compare;
  • be aware of what is known about the safety of the vaccines.
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Amantadine in the management of chronic pain in dogs and cats

By doing this module you will:

  • Understand the pharmacology of amantadine and the rationale for using it in chronic pain.
  • Be aware of the published evidence on the use of amantadine in dogs and cats.
  • Find out what is known about the adverse effects of amantadine. 
  • Know the potential role of amantadine in the management of chronic pain and how to monitor its effects.
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Parasiticide Guide

A unique database. Includes all UK authorised products for cats dogs, ferrets and rabbits. Search by parasite/disease, active ingredient(s), brand, species, formulation. Updated every 3 months. Indispensable for getting your head around parasiticide products.

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Taking pets abroad

For pet owners taking their pets to mainland Europe, there is a need to comply with Pet Travel Scheme rules on rabies immunisation and tapeworm therapy. But the scheme does not take account other parasite threats that might be encountered. This module covers the four main parasite threats that dogs, cats or ferrets might encounter on a trip to mainland Europe. By doing this module you will:

  • know the main parasite risks for pets visiting mainland Europe;
  • know where to find information about parasite distribution;
  • understand the drug and non-drug measures for reducing risk of infection
  • be able to make a rational choice of parasiticide products using the comprehensive table of products.
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Specials

When a small animal needs a drug treatment, there is usually a licensed (authorised) medicine available, although it might be licensed for other species or indications. However, there are some circumstances when there is no suitable licensed product to fulfil a clinical need. To solve such a problem, it might be possible to use an unlicensed ‘special’ formulation. Specials are unlike licensed medicines because they are not assessed for safety or efficacy by a regulatory body. So vets must be satisfied there is sufficient evidence or experience to demonstrate safety and efficacy. Here we outline the facts and practical information relevant to prescribing special formulations.

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What pet owners need to know about medicines

Much of an animal’s medical treatment will be administered by the owner at home. To do this safely and effectively, owners need information about why and how to use the treatments. This module discusses what sort of information owners need, what is required by law, what is available, and how it can be provided in the veterinary practice. 

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Lipid emulsion in the management of toxicity

Intravenous lipid emulsion is increasingly being used as an adjunct in the management of toxicity caused by lipophilic drugs that are cardiotoxic (e.g. bupivacaine) or neurotoxic (e.g. permethrin). The Veterinary Poisons Information Service recommends that intravenous lipid emulsion be considered for any animal at risk of serious toxicity after exposure to a lipophilic compound (VPIS 2017). This module summarises what is known about this treatment, the uncertainties, and the practical aspects of using it. 

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Lidocaine/prilocaine topical anaesthetic cream in small animals

Lidocaine (25mg/g) plus prilocaine (25mg/g) cream is a topical anaesthetic licensed for use in humans but not in animals. However, it is used in veterinary practice – for example, during venepuncture at the jugular or cephalic vein for blood sampling, especially in cats, or the ear veins in rabbits; and when inserting an intravenous cannula preoperatively in cats, dogs and rabbits. This module summarises the published evidence on the efficacy and safety of lidocaine/prilocaine cream in small animals, gives practical guidance on its use, and highlights the gaps in the evidence.

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Lokivetmab – a new treatment for canine atopic dermatitis

Why do this module?

Lokivetmab is a new treatment for reducing the clinical signs of atopic dermatitis in dogs. It is also a new type of medicine (a monoclonal antibody) for the treatment of animals in the UK. This module explains about monoclonal antibodies, summarises what is known about the efficacy and safety of lokivetmab in the treatment of canine atopic dermatitis, and discusses where it might fit in the management of atopic dermatitis. 

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Stem cell therapy for cats and dogs - not what you might expect.

When we last reviewed ‘stem cell’ therapy in 2014 there was only one small published clinical trial (in dogs with osteoarthritis) and this did not show a clear benefit. Now some veterinary practices offer ‘stem cell’ therapy for cats and dogs for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, hip dysplasia, tendinopathy, skin disease and inflammatory bowel disease. But how much has the evidence moved on? This module explains the forms of therapy available, why ‘stem cell’ therapy is now considered a misnomer, how the therapy is regulated, and what is known about its efficacy and safety in cats and dogs.

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Drug interactions:understanding, predicting and managing

There are many situations in which you might use several medicines at the same time in a companion animal – for example, to treat chronic diseases or multiple conditions in older animals; to achieve broad parasite protection; in anaesthetic protocols; and when anaesthetising animals on long-term drug treatment. 

This module covers: the principles of interactions and their potential consequences; interactions with herbal medicines and nutraceuticals; where to find information about interactions and what to do with it; and practical tips on predicting, avoiding and managing drug interactions.

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Avoiding problems when stopping systemic glucocorticoid therapy

Glucocorticoids are widely used and are an important part of the veterinary therapeutic armoury. However, they cause well-known unwanted effects, including suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), which can lead to problems when the treatment is stopped.This module outlines the rationale and evidence on steroid withdrawal in cats and dogs and includes an example of a withdrawal protocol. It was prompted by a query from a small-animal vet, who asked if there is a standard protocol for withdrawing steroid therapy.

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Quick-reference prescribing information - what is there?

Where's the best place to find information on doses, interactions, use in pregnancy and so on, at the time of prescribing? Do you know the difference between SPCs and data sheets? Where can you find reliable information on unlicensed medicines? Our new module reviews quick-reference prescribing information sources. We've compared the different sources - paper and online - looking at the pros and cons, whether the information is reliable, the costs, and which to use when you need a particular type of information. It's practical and will help you to know if you're using the most up-to-date resources.

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Oily injections what you need to know to keep safe

Some vaccines used in veterinary medicine contain mineral oil as an adjuvant. Most are vaccines for use in food production animals, but there are a few for use in companion animals. Self-injection can result in serious harm from the mineral oil content and so it is important to know which those products are. This module aims to raise awareness of the potential hazard and what to do to avoid serious harm.

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Tramadol for pain relief in dogs: what's its place?

Why do this module?

Reviews the evidence on tramadol’s efficacy in management of postoperative and chronic pain, and on adverse effects. Looks at the legal requirements around the use of tramadol and potential for misuse and dependence. Tackles the dilemma of what to do when NSAIDs are contraindicated, not tolerated or insufficiently effective but evidence on alternatives is weak.

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Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) in dogs: reducing the risks

Angiostrongylus vasorum, one of the five main parasites affecting dogs in the UK, can cause severe illness and even death in infected dogs. This module provides answers to key questions about the biology, epidemiology, clinical impact, diagnosis and management of canine angiostrongylosis. It will enable veterinary professionals to discuss confidently the risks with clients and reach a fully informed decision about preventive therapy. 

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Evidence-based veterinary medicine - what's happening

This module will bring you up to date with developments in the evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) movement. It includes a summary of key messages from the Veterinary Evidence Today conference in Edinburgh in November 2016. Includes links to practical resources for those who want to develop skills in EBVM and/or want to get involved in practice-based research.

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Fireworks: can alpha-casozepine help?

Noise aversion is common in pets. Management of noise aversion usually involves a combination of interventions, including behaviour therapy, pheromones, drugs and nutritional supplements. Alpha-casozepine (Zylkène capules) is one such supplement. This module looks at whether there is any evidence that alpha-casozepine is effective in helping cats and dogs with noise aversion.

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Which tick product?

Parasite specialists ESCCAP UK & Ireland strongly advise the use of a tick preventive product for dogs in areas where Babesia has been reported, to reduce the risk of disease  transmission, and they recommend using a product that either repels or rapidly kills ticks. This module explain what is meant by repellent and rapid killing effect and lists the products that meet these criteria.

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