Transdermal Compounding Of Medications For Animals

Transdermal medication might be the answer to your difficult-to-pill pet.

Breaking down the word, trans is a Latin prefix meaning “across.” Derm is a root referring to “skin.” Therefore, transdermal medications go across the skin.

You are already familiar with some of them. Your pets’ Revolution heartworm preventive

Revolution doesn't need to be compounded, it's already a transdermal medication.
Revolution doesn't need to be compounded, it's already a transdermal medication.

is a transdermal medication. People commonly use transdermals in patches for nicotine administration and heart medicines. Many pain patches are also transdermal in form.

Compounding pharmacies have made an explosive presence in the last ten years. The Federal Food and Drug Administration has specific rules compounding pharmacists must meet, as well as rules for the pharmacy itself.

The initial growth of compounding pharmacies was on the Internet, as a way for a pharmacy to reach the entire world with a single location. Now, however, your favorite local drug store may have one or more compounding pharmacists employed. Therefore, your veterinarian may order compounded drugs from a local source or online, 24 hours a day.

Compounding pharmacies may not only make transdermal medications, they can liquefy and/or flavor medications your pet would not easily otherwise take.

Transdermals, on the other hand, may be administered without getting near the mouth. The most common location is inside the pinna, or flap of the ear, where little hair exists on most pets.

It is crucially important that the human wear gloves because, just as the medicine will travel across your pet’s skin, it will travel across your skin and into your system, too.

The transdermal form is available for a wide array of medications, ranging from anti-nausea to behavioral to chemotherapy to thyroid-controlling medications.

Ask your pet’s doctor about compounded medications and specifically the transdermal form if you find it difficult to give oral medications.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.


  1. it’s interesting how compounded pet medicine has developed and transdermal medications are actually administered through the ear flaps. This is reassuring to know since I have a dog myself and he is a very picky eater. So, next time we go to the vet, It’ll be easier to give him the help he needs.

  2. Transdermal medications look wonderful, but how does one persuade the dog not to rub/shake them off? Of course, my dogs get more excited about pilltime than kids get about Christmas morning, so I guess I’m quite lucky.

    • Excellent question, Amy. Revolution is formulated to minimize the volume and instructions are to apply it only between the shoulder blades, which makes it difficult for most pets to reach with tongue or foot. Compounded transdermals are usually in a cream/ointment form and are applied inside the pinna (ear flap) where, again, it’s difficult to reach and impossible to lick. Thanks for a great question.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.