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  1. Animal Health Literacy

Pill Bottle Pete - Did You Know?


…that not everyone who works at CVM is a veterinarian? Only 25% of the folks at CVM are veterinarians. The other 75% are people like chemists, microbiologists, statisticians, pharmacists, writers, and lawyers. Everyone is important at CVM!

...that there are seven “major” animal species: dogs, cats, horses, cows, chickens, pigs, and turkeys?

...that animals that are not “major” species, like fish, deer, and sheep, are called “minor” species?” CVM approves drugs to treat all kinds of animals!

…that CVM approves drugs to treat honeybees? (Honeybees are a “minor” species, by the way.)

…that CVM works with people around the world to make sure that the food you eat from animals (like steak, scrambled eggs, chocolate milk, and vanilla ice cream) is safe?

Glossary of Terms Used in Pill Bottle Pete

Animal Food—food for animals, including pet food and treats, and feed for horses and livestock.

Approval Process for an Animal Drug—the steps a drug company must take to get an animal drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug company must prove to FDA that the drug is safe and effective (that it does what it’s supposed to do) for the animal and can be made the same from batch to batch. If the drug is for food-producing animals, like cows, pigs, chickens, and honeybees, then the drug company must also make sure that food made from treated animals, such as milk, meat, eggs, and honey, is safe for people to eat.

Chemist—a scientist who studies the chemical make-up of substances, like drugs, and how the substances can be changed.

Animal Device—a tool or piece of equipment for animals that serves a specific purpose. For example, a thermometer is an animal device used by a veterinarian to take an animal’s temperature. Devices are different from drugs because they do not rely on a chemical reaction in the animal’s body to work.

Animal Drug—a medicine, for example, that is used to treat, control, or prevent a disease in animals. Drugs rely on chemical reactions in the animal’s body to work and they affect the animal’s body in other ways, like helping them relax before surgery or helping to decrease their pain.

Food Additives—vitamins, minerals, food colorings, and other ingredients that are added to animal food. These ingredients are added for different reasons, such as to improve the food’s nutrition and taste, or to help food stay fresh longer.

Laboratory—a room or building that has all the tools, machines, chemicals, and other equipment and supplies scientists need to do their experiments.

Lawyer—a person who is an expert on laws. Most lawyers at FDA are experts on the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This is the basic food and drug law in the U.S. and it governs food and drugs for both people and animals.

Medicated Feed—a feed for animals that has an animal drug in it. Medicated feed makes it easy to treat big groups of animals, which is particularly useful on farms. For a herd of sick cows, for example, it’s easier for a farmer to give the drug to the entire herd at the same time in a medicated feed rather than give it to each cow with a syringe or in a pill.

Microbiologist—a scientist who studies tiny (microscopic) forms of life, like bacteria and viruses, that are too small to see with the naked eye. They’re so small that the microbiologist has to use a microscope to see them.

NADA—New Animal Drug Application. An NADA is like a high school senior’s college application. A high school senior uses a college application to formally ask to be accepted into a college. The college application tells the senior’s story, including all the information about the student’s extra-curricular activities and grades in high school.  Likewise, a drug company uses a NADA to formally ask CVM to approve an animal drug.  The NADA tells the drug’s story and contains all the information about the drug. As part of the approval process, a drug company sends the application to CVM to prove that the drug is safe and effective (that it does what it’s supposed to do). 

Operation or surgery—a procedure performed by a veterinarian on an animal to fix something that’s wrong or to keep the animal healthy. For example, a veterinarian may perform surgery to fix a cat’s broken leg or to spay a female dog so she can’t have puppies.

Pharmacist—a medical professional who works in a pharmacy to fill prescriptions from a doctor or veterinarian for a person or animal.

Statistician—a mathematician who works in statistics. Statistics is the science of collecting, analyzing, understanding, and presenting data. A statistician looks at the data (the results) from the experiment and sees how they are grouped and tries to find common patterns. A statistician can also use statistics to make predictions, like whether a certain drug will be effective in cats.

Veterinarian—an animal doctor.

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