Pharmacology: Making treatment decisions so much better | Centre for Veterinary Education

Pharmacology: Making treatment decisions so much better

Every vet is a pharmacologist, whether they like it or not! This course will teach you to go further than the formulary, developing your ability to assess pharmacological evidence yourself.

Do you know how to tailor your treatments to ensure the best outcomes for you and your patients? Or do you think one size fits all? How should you alter your regimens for a patient with serious systemic disease, the morbidly obese, or the pregnant?

If you are using more than one drug at a time, do you know which are likely to interact and how significant this is for your patient? When confronted with a new drug, do you know the evidence base that has been gathered prior to registration? Or how to find out? What happens after registration? As vets we might expect drugs to work every time, but is this realistic? Is this even expected? What’s the likelihood of an adverse drug reaction? How do you identify them?

Join the discussion of when and how leading edge practice requires the ability to fine tune treatment regimens to ensure better outcomes. Take a deep dive into an area of veterinary science you use every day.

This course will challenge you to ask key questions about your practice such as:

  • Where is the evidence? There might be lots of evidence about other patients but what about my patient?

  • How do I make the best of evidence and experience to help guide decision making?

  • How can I individualize a therapeutic plan?

  • How do I know if the drug caused that adverse reaction?

  • Should I use that new drug?

Past participant:

"This course is thought provoking and encourages us to think carefully about what we are prescribing in relation to treating our patient as a whole."

Sue Charman

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, participants will:

  • be better able to make difficult drug treatment decisions and understand important considerations when selecting and tailoring drug treatment for an individual patient.

  • better understand how dose rates can be determined, how effectiveness can be assessed, how safety of new medicines can be characterised and the limitations of the evidence available to substantiate efficacy and safety of a new veterinary medicine

  • better understand the rationale for collecting evidence about new products via pharmacovigilance and be able to discuss how clinical experiences with new medicines can be used to improve patient health and welfare.

  • be able to define suspected adverse drug reactions, explain the elements of a causality assessment and outline a systematic approach to investigating product failure. 


  1. Exploring difficult drug treatment decisions and outcomes – what are the important questions?

  2. Using a new drug in practice: What’s the evidence? Making the best decision possible.

  3. Patient directed therapy: Tailoring your treatments.

  4. Did I kill my patient? Was it me, the drug or coincidence? How can I tell? 

Course Delivery

This course comes with:

  • A set of written notes, images and useful references within each module

  • Self-assessed multiple choice quizzes to test your knowledge and understanding

  • A discussion forum for conversation, debate and information exchange with your peers and tutors

  • An electronic certificate available for download upon successful completion of the course

The estimated time to complete this course is 10 hours. The course will be open for 4 weeks.


Monday 25 September - Sunday 22 October 2017
Delivered Online


BSc (Vet)(Hons) BVSc (Hons) DipVetClinStud MVetClinStud MAppSc MANZCVSc

Stephen Page is Director of Advanced Veterinary Therapeutics providing investigative and analytical skills in the areas of clinical pharmacology, toxicology, risk assessment and public health. He has had a long standing interest in the appropriate use of veterinary medicines and has participated in conferences and training programs on this subject in Australia, North America, Europe and Asia. He is a member of the AVA antimicrobial resistance working group. He was an examiner for the ANZCVSc Chapter of Pharmacology for 13 years. Currently he is involved in distance education facilitation for the University of Sydney MVPHMgt, is a member of an international team defining veterinary pharmacology competencies, and is busy on a variety of gripping projects in a start-up pharmaceutical company he recently co-founded.

BAnimSc BVSc (Hons) PhD

Joanna is a Veterinarian and consultant veterinary research scientist with eleven years’ experience in tertiary education and research. Joanna has taught clinical pharmacology to veterinary undergraduates at the University of Sydney, and anaesthetics at the University of Adelaide. She has developed materials for the Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Network, a forum for practitioners, academics, students and industry-based professionals interested in pharmacology and toxicology. Amongst other research interests she has published in pharmacology in koalas, and volatile anaesthetic agents in dogs. Joanna is particularly interested helping vets make evidence based choices about the use of drugs in clinical practice.

Course Fees

Member TypeTimeOnline
Recent Grad / Part-time Member$289
Student Member$145
Non-member / eMember$578
*Members include: Practice, Professional and Academic members

You may be eligible for a 10% discount off your registration. Please read the full Terms & Conditions to see if you are eligible. Discounts can’t be processed online so please contact the CVE on +61 2 9351 7979 or to register.     

Further details

Have a question? Your answer could be on our frequently asked questions page. If you cannot find an answer for your question, please email us or call us on +61 2 9351 7979.