What if your water dragon seems depressed or your python needs antibiotics? Where would you turn? Many veterinarians rely on Mortar and Pestle, a compounding pharmacy in Flagstaff that concocts medicines not only for people but for exotic animals as well.
“We have people, dogs, cats and reptiles. I do lizards sometimes. We have a snake that needs antibiotics. Last week, I had a water dragon,” said Kelsey Herring, owner of the pharmacy. “I get rats, prairie dogs, ferrets and lots of dogs and cats.”
For humans, she tailors prescriptions for patients who are unable for some reason to take the commercially offered pills. They may have allergies to some of its ingredients like lactose or have an allergy to cornstarch, both of which are ingredients in many drugs. She may turn the medication into a liquid for some patients or give it a pleasant flavor. Many doctors rely on her for bio-identical hormone replacement medicine for menopausal women.
“We do a few topical pain creams,” she said.
For pets, she can add flavors to make it easier to administer. Cats love the triple fish flavor; dogs are happy with chicken.
Anyone who has ever tried to give a cat a pill will appreciate that she makes medicinal creams that can be applied to the thin inner flap of a cat’s ear.
“A lot of times oral medications for exotic animals has to be in a much, much smaller dose than for dogs and cats,” said Dr. Jenny Siess of Westside Veterinary Clinic in Flagstaff. “I turn to her when the doses are way too big for the little guys.”
In her practice, Siess said she calls upon Herring at least once a week.
She said the water dragon mentioned above was suffering from an upper respiratory infection. “Life would be difficult without Kelsey,” she said.
Herring took over ownership of the Mortar and Pestle on Sept. 1. She kept the name for practical reasons. “I use a mortar and pestle every day because we are a compounding pharmacy,” she said.
That means putting together a…