Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2015 Contents Chris likes a challenge and finding a way to
give anabolic steroids to an elderly tiger was
definitely a challenge.
He told Australian Pharmacist that one of the
head vets at the wildlife park had an old tiger.
‘Older cats typically go into renal failure,’
Chris said, ‘and this one was in the early stages
of renal failure so the vet was injecting it with
‘Now I don’t like injections and this cat doesn’t
like injections. The vet was saying to me, “look
it’s getting a bit uncomfortable because this
fellow is watching me walk through the people
and eyeballing me as I get into the enclosure to
give him an injection, and he doesn’t like it. He’s
beginning not to like me. And I’m not comfortable
with that situation, so can we come up with
another solution. I can’t find another option”.’
The vet also wanted to add something to
enhance the tiger’s appetite because of
Chris eventually tried putting the anabolic
steroid and an appetite enhancer into
‘We had it in a solid dosage form. It was a
triple-O capsule. It was similar to a multivitamin
size. We were able to place that into a piece
of horse meat. The cat was able to have that
with no trouble and we took all the stress and
concern out of the situation – a very simple
solution,’ Chris said.
How to give steroids
to a tiger
something as large as an elephant, or a
‘I really admire how creative, how
adaptive and how good these fellows
have to be to look after the animals
under their care. Compounding fits
into that niche nicely. We can work
very closely with the vets and come up
with a dosage form which actually suits
He said that the most rewarding part of
compounding was ‘the close association
which you make with the professionals
who are caring for humans as well as
animals. You are working very closely
with the specialists and you’re working
very closely with the patients.
‘It is important to ensure the medicine
does not leave a bad after taste as it may,
over time, become associated with food.
‘You don’t want make them associate
having a meal or a bit of food with
Quite often he will go and observe the
‘I’ve been very fortunate that they
have allowed me in a lot of these cases
to observe. Often it is quite remote
and quite busy so what you do is, you
prepare the medications supplies, then
you get feedback and quite often you
may even modify it,’ he said.
A good example is the first time Chris
dealt with koalas.
‘I was talking to the handlers and
they were trying to come up with an
antibiotic that the koala would be able
to take orally. What they were trying
to that point was leaving a very bitter
after taste and they were not having
‘What would you think would be the
favourite taste of a koala?
‘I assumed it would be eucalyptus. So
working with the vet and talking to
people that understand the animals
I was able to determine that’s not
right. Each koala has its own species of
eucalyptus that it likes in its own area.
So if you’re picking a flavour that is not
from the species they like they won’t go
‘ We found out they like banana flavour
and there you go – an oral dosage form.’
Wound healing for a seal
Another of Chris’ animal patients was a
large seal from Dream World.
The seal stood 1.7 metres tall when it
As part of its performance it would slide
along the concrete and, sits up and clap
its flippers. It had scratched its flipper
and it had begun to ulcerate. The vets
cleared up the infection with injectable
antibiotics but the scratch wasn’t
healing because every time it jumped
out of the pool it scraped the scab off.
Chris used a powder called Polyox
mucosal bandage which formed a very
hard seal over the wound.
However, after a while the scratch had
improved but still was not completely
‘I dug into the dim distance past and
we used flexible collodion(an old
ingredient used in topical paints, see
APF22, page 57). We painted flexible
collodion and that was more durable
and the wound healed’.
Asked if working with such a diverse
group of customers was satisfying Chris
gave a definite yes.
‘It makes your whole day, probably your
whole week. It’s very rewarding when
you get that phone call to say: “hey
everything’s worked out”’.
*The term ‘cosmeceutical’ was invented by
dermatologist Albert Kligman of the University
of Pennsylvania who coined the term to describe
those products containing ‘biologically active
ingredients’ such as AHAs (α-hydroxy acids) or
vitamin A (retinol) derivatives, and claiming to have
a specific skin benefit. The term cosmeceutical is
not recognised or defined by the FDA.
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