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The Veterinary Technician’s Guide to Compounding

Northwest Compounders has worked with hundreds, maybe thousands, of brilliant and wonderful veterinary technicians over the years. Vet techs play a vital role in veterinary medicine and also serve as a critical medium between veterinarians and compounding pharmacies. Veterinary compounding is a very specialized field and can sometimes be difficult for techs, pharmacists and veterinarians to navigate. We’ve compiled a few useful tools to help clarify some of the most common questions we receive from vet clinics.

Preferred Liquid Dosing Volumes for Pets

Compared to humans, pets vary greatly in size, both between species and within their own species (especially dogs). This size variability creates a wide range of appropriate liquid dosing volumes that different-sized animals can tolerate. Generally speaking, the smaller the animal, the smaller the maximum liquid dosing volume. The following chart describes Northwest Compounder’s recommended liquid dosing volumes for different species based on our historic dispensing records.

SpeciesOptimal Oral Liquid Dosing RangeMaximum Dosing Volume
Small Dogs0.2mL-0.5mL1mL
Medium-Large Dogs0.2mL-1mL2mL

Standardized Concentrations for Oral Liquids

In order to maximize efficiency and keep medication prices low, Northwest Compounders only offers the following concentrations for all compounded oral liquid medications:


Due to constraints caused by the chemical properties of some active pharmaceutical ingredients, there are maximum concentrations on most of our compounded oral liquids. Despite most constraints, there are a few products that can be made in concentrations of 200mg/mL, even up to 500mg/mL in the case of potassium bromide.

How Capsule Strength Translates to Capsule Size

Capsules come in a variety of different sizes, some of which are too large for veterinary dosing:

The size of the capsule has the potential to greatly affect patient compliance. Administering a capsule size #1 or larger would be very difficult, if not impossible for cats and small dogs. Conversely, administering a very large dose to a large dog can be successfully done as a capsule size #00 or sometimes even #000. Because small capsules are always preferred in veterinary dosing, compounders will use a #4 capsule whenever possible. However, due to the spatial constraints of the tiny #4 size capsule, there are real limits on how much powder can fit inside. Active pharmaceutical ingredients vary substantially in their chemical properties. Powders exhibiting granularity or coarseness take up more volume compared to fine, fluffy powders. Variability in chemical properties and the patient’s desired dose are both factors that determine the size of capsule a compounder can use for a preparation.

The following table provides the best approximation of capsule size correlated to desired patient dose.

Capsule SizeSize ComparisonDose Capacity
#4’s 0.1mg-150mg
#3’s 120mg-200mg
#1’s 170mg-350mg
#0’s 320mg-500mg
#00’s 350mg-1000mg
#000’s 500mg-1200mg

Dosing and Dispensing Transdermal Medications

Transdermal medications are an extremely useful dosage form whenever the patient is averse to oral routes of administration. Northwest Compounders offers two viable dispensing options for all of its veterinary transdermal products. Both options each have their own advantages to consider, but the pet owner’s input or preference should be the driving force in determining which option to go with. Choosing an option that the pet owner is comfortable administering will lead to better compliance and better outcomes. The table below highlights the two different options for transdermal dispensing that Northwest Compounders offers.

Pre-Filled 1mL SyringesTopi-CLICK Micro
Dosing volume of 0.05mL or 0.1mLDosing volume of 0.05mL (1 “click”)
No limit on dispense quantity, as long as day’s supply is within product BUDCan dispense up to 9mL of cream in one Topi-CLICK Micro pen
Only whole-number 1mL increments are possible, i.e., 1 syringe, 3 syringes, 6 syringes, 12 syringes, etc.Pet owner utilizes the built-in “click” mechanism of the Topi-CLICK Micro apparatus to dose 0.05mL with each “click”
Pet owner uses plunger on end of syringe to measure and dispense prescribed doseTip of Topi-CLICK Micro apparatus can be used to apply the medication directly to the patient without need for gloves
Gloves or finger cots should be utilized to prevent unwanted absorption into human’s skinApparatus should be wiped clean after every use
Variable dosing and exact dose titration can be utilized since owner can easily expel more or less cream from each syringeTopi-CLICK Micro apparatus dispenses in 0.05mL increments only.
Syringes are provided at no extra cost to the customerTopi-CLICK Micro are provided to customers by request with an additional charge of $5 per apparatus
Medication concentration is described as desired dose per 0.1mL on the prescription label (i.e 5mg/0.1mL)Medication concentration is described as desired dose per click (0.05mL) (i.e 2.5mg/click (0.05mL))

Discounted Pricing for Larger Quantities

The most cost consuming process of compounding is labor. Generally speaking, nearly every order that a compounding pharmacy fulfills is made from scratch. We start with raw ingredients, typically powders and liquids, and manipulate them manually in a specified way to produce a unique dosage form product. This process is labor intensive and labor is always the highest cost line item when considering the cost of all of the ingredients that go into a compound. One excellent advantage to this process is that the same amount of labor is required to produce a one month supply, two month supply or a three month supply. This allows us to offer substantial price discounts when patients and pet owners order more than one month of medication at a time. Instead of making a patient’s prescription twice (once each month), we only have to make it once (for a two month supply). The only exception is when the active ingredient source of the compounded medication is expensive. This is a relatively rare occurrence, but is observed for a few specific drug ingredients.

Northwest Compounders receives a variety of calls from vet clinics with their compounding questions. A lot goes into the art of compounding, but the most common inquiries involve dosing volumes for pets, oral liquid concentrations, the correlation between capsule size and dosage, available dispensing options for transdermal medications and medication cost. We hope this overview provides you with a more in-depth look into these areas. If you’d like to learn more or have any questions, please call us at 503-352-3811 or send an email to

William Kenward, CPhT

project manager

Team member since 2015

Chris Gralian, CPhT

Quality Control Lead

Team member since 2019

Rose Hood, CPhT

Quality Control Lead

Team member since 2016

Matthew Peterson, CPhT

Quality Control Lead

Team member since 2016

Helen Dubintsov, CPhT

Quality Control Lead

Team member since 2016

Shannon Kimball, PharmD

Compounding Pharmacist

Doctor of Pharmacy, Pacific University 2022

B.S. Biohealth Science, Oregon State University 2019

Team member since 2018

Mark Liu, PharmD

Compounding Pharmacist

Doctor of Pharmacy, Oregon State University 2005

BA Biology, Reed College 1998

12 years of retail experience

Team member since January 2017

Jill Snyder, RPh

Compounding Pharmacist

B.S. Pharm. 1994 Oregon State University

5 years of retail pharmacy experience

17 years of long-term care experience

Certificate in Veterinary Pharmacy, 2016

Team member since May 2016

Scott Williams, RPh

Compounding Pharmacist

B.S. Pharm. 1992 Oregon State University

24 years of experience in Retail Pharmacy

Team member since November 2015

Certificates in CPR, Diabetes Management, Immunization, Cholesterol Management and Medication Therapy Management

Bob Templin, RPh

Director of Training

B.S. Pharm. 1976 Oregon State University

Certificate in Veterinary Pharmacy, 2019

Over 37 years of pharmacy experience

Over 33 years as a Pharmacy Manager

Team member since February 2013

Megan Gustafson, PharmD

Director of Training

Doctor of Pharmacy, Oregon State University 2021

B.S. Bio-Health Sciences, Oregon State University 2017

Team member since 2016

Sam Llona, PharmD

Director of Sterile Operations

Doctor of Pharmacy, Creighton University 2019

B.S. Biology, Santa Clara University

Certificate in Aseptic Compounding, PCCA 2014

Certificate in Human Compounding, PCCA, 2016

Certificate in Veterinary Compounding, PCCA, 2017

Team member since September 2019

Vivian Pham, PharmD

Senior Operations Manager,
Director of Accounting

Doctor of Pharmacy, Oregon State University 2016

Has worked as a technician, bookkeeper, pharmacy intern and now pharmacist for Northwest Compounders

Team member since May 2008

Jessie Vo, PharmD

Pharmacy Manager,
Director of Quality Assurance

Doctor of Pharmacy, Pacific University 2011

Preceptor for Pacific University SOP, Oregon State SOP

Team member since January 2006

Luke Eilers, PharmD

Chief Executive Officer

Doctor of Pharmacy, Pacific University 2014

B.S. General Science, Oregon State University 2011

Certificate in Veterinary Pharmacy, 2018

Certificate in Basic Compounding, PCCA 2014

Certificate in Aseptic Compounding, PCCA 2014

Preceptor for Pacific University SOP, Oregon State SOP

Team member since October 2005

Tom Eilers, RPh

Founder, Chairman

B.S. Pharm. 1976 Oregon State University

Founder, Northwest Compounders 2005

Member, International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists

Member, PCCA (Professional Compounding Centers of America)

Certificate in Basic Compounding Techniques, PCCA, 2001

Certificate in Aseptic Compounding, PCCA 2005

Preceptor for Pacific University SOP, Oregon State SOP, Washington State SOP

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