Until recently, Dr. Rosita Proteau was an associate professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy, teaching and conducting research in the human health arena. Then she decided to change things up . . . not just a different job, but a whole new group of species.
Dr. Proteau now works in the pharmacy at the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH), where she dispenses medication for a wide range of animals, from Chihuahuas to Clydesdales. “It is challenging in a different way [from academia],” she says. “I get prescriptions for goats, pigs, alpacas, dogs, cats . . . so I am constantly using Plumb’s Vet to calculate doses. The other day, a veterinarian called to ask about antibiotics for a duck.”
But there is a lot more to her job than filling prescriptions. Along with Pharmacy Director, Brian Bowers, she advises veterinary students, consults with hospital specialists, and trains interns from the OSU College of Pharmacy. On any given day, she fields a lot of questions from pet owners, usually about drug reactions and side effects, and spends part of every day helping veterinary students learn about drug treatment. “We have some really good discussions,” she says.
The VTH pharmacy offers services to patients of the hospital and the veterinarians who refer them. But they are also a resource for the Corvallis community. Private practice veterinarians often call for advise on regulations, dosage or compounding, and the pharmacy even gets questions from retail pharmacists. “The compounding pharmacies sometimes get veterinary prescriptions,” says Bowers.
With this great resource located right down the hall from the veterinary hospital, Bowers and Proteau have many opportunities to work closely with the doctors. “We have a ground-breaking arena for bringing pharmacists and doctors together,” says Bowers. “I enjoy working as an interdisciplinary team component.”
Bowers and Proteau don’t do all this work alone. Dr. Sophia Trieu is the relief pharmacist working Saturdays and holidays, and Matthew Russell is a pharmacy technician who helps fill prescriptions. Longtime pharmacy employee, Jeffrey Holland, is a drug room technician who manages the Cubex machine, which dispenses critical drugs, like analgesics and antibiotics, after hours when a pharmacist is not available. He also does the billing and ordering.
Both Bowers and Proteau value the variety of challenges a veterinary pharmacy offers. “I have a great appreciation for the veterinary end of pharmacy. It is multi-dimensional,” says Bowers. “It makes my day very interesting. I love it.”