The Best Way to Double-Check Drug Interactions in Animals

July 19, 2021
3 min

Do you ever have flashbacks to that year of veterinary school? The one where you memorized endless lists in everything from pharmacology (including detailed lists of drug interactions) to bacteriology, virology, and maybe even parasitology? Getting your already flooded brain to absorb that waterfall of information was a recipe for stress. Many of us worried about how we could retain the sheer volume of information in the first place. (And what it would mean for our future patients if we couldn’t.) 

Once you get into clinics and then into practice, it’s a relief to refer to your favorite resources (when you have the time). And eventually, you memorize the information you need most or keep it close at hand. But still, many of us are left with the suspicion that we’re missing something, especially when we’re in a hurry.

You’re right to be concerned. Medical errors are so common in human medicine that they are a leading cause of mortality. A 2019 study of veterinary hospitals that voluntarily reported errors noted about 5 errors per 1000 patients.1 The vast majority of these were drug errors. Although not broken out by cause, the errors resulted in irreversible patient morbidity or death 8% of the time.1 

As much information as you can—and do—store in your brain, it’s impossible to memorize every potential drug interaction. The FDA specifically recommends practitioners use support tools (eg, databases, references) to help minimize medical errors.2

Your education and experience will always be the ultimate backstop for your patients’ safety. But now, you have even more support with the easy-to-use drug interaction checker now included in Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs.

Fast, Easy, Informative

Even though we prescribe drugs safely every day, we can’t afford to be lulled into a false sense of security. We know the stakes are high; missing a dangerous drug interaction can cause injury and even death.

Every second is precious in practice, which makes this process that much harder. We spend time we don’t have just looking for our drug reference. And then we’re stuck flipping back and forth between drug monographs to cross-check interactions and contraindications.

It helps to have help. Whether you’re a new graduate hoping to confirm what you think you know or an experienced practitioner making sure you haven’t missed anything, a trusted reference can make a difference.

Enter the Plumb’s drug interaction checker. 

It’s so easy to use. Just snag the closest device—whether that’s the phone attached to your hip or the ancient computer at the front desk. Then start typing drug names to select your patient’s current and proposed medications.

You’ll get a list of one-to-one drug interactions in seconds, including:

  • Color-coded risk classifications for quick reference
  • Important information on the interaction itself
  • Disclosure if no data or research on interactions is available

Species-Specific Guidance

Our colleagues in human medicine have had digital drug interaction checkers for decades.3 Because of a lack of alternatives, some practices and pharmacists have turned to these tools for their veterinary patients. 

Unfortunately, human-specific tools typically don’t list veterinary drugs and indications or reference species-specific data. That means they can leave potentially dangerous information gaps.

We developed the Plumb’s drug interaction checker with animal patients and veterinary teams in mind so your work can be easier and less stressful. And like the rest of Plumb’s, the drug interaction checker is continually reviewed and updated by a team of veterinary and pharmacy experts.

Already a subscriber? Take the drug interaction checker for a spin.

Get trusted support at your fingertips today. Subscribe to Plumb’s here.


  1. Wallis J, Fletcher D, Bentley A, Ludders J. Medical errors cause harm in veterinary hospitals. Front Vet Sci. 2019;6:12.
  2. Flockhart DA, Yasuda SU, Honig P, Rosebraugh C, Woosley RL. Preventable adverse drug reactions: a focus on drug interactions. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Updated March 6, 2018.
  3. Hazlet TK, Lee TA, Hansten PD, Horn JR. Performance of community pharmacy drug interaction software. J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash). 2001;41(2):200-204.