Proper Storage of Veterinary Medicines

Just like healthcare practices for human beings, veterinary practices store a wide range of medicines used to vaccinate and treat animal patients.

Some of these veterinary medical products (VMPs) can be stored at room temperature inside a dedicated cabinet or even on a shelf, but others must be stored inside a specialist medical fridge.

Why do Veterinary Practices Need a Medical Fridge?

Some VMPs need to be stored within a specific temperature range to remain potent. This temperature ranges between +2oC and +8oC, and is also known as the cold-chain.

A dedicated medical fridge ensures that this temperature range is maintained and monitored, with additional benefits including alarms that sound if it falls out of range, as well as improved security.

Medical fridges come in a range of different sizes. From small, medium and large fridges, with the option to choose a glass door or a solid door to accommodate your security preferences, there will always be a medical fridge to suit your needs.

The size of the medical fridge needed will depend on the volume of VMPs stocked by the veterinary practice, that require refrigeration, as well as the space available for installation.

In some cases, space can be limited so instead of installing a large medical fridge, two small units are installed in the space that is available. Often these can be installed easily under a desk or on top of a counter.

Once a fridge has been purchased it is vital that VMPs are correctly stored within the fridge as incorrect storage can lead to medicines becoming damaged beyond the point of use.

Below, we cover the key steps to ensure VMPs are stored correctly.

Store VMPs in Their Protective Packaging

VMPs usually come in protective packaging which should be kept in place while the medicines are being stored inside the medical fridge.

This will help keep the medicine in the best condition possible as the protective packaging will inhibit any light from compromising the medications quality. If your medical fridge has a glass door, this is even more important, as natural light can find its way into the medical fridge more easily. 

However, medical fridges with glass doors can be extremely beneficial during busy periods, as vets can find it much easier to locate medicines they are administering at a quicker rate and without having to open up the medical fridge for long periods of time, which could compromise the cold-chain. 

Store Veterinary Medicines in the Correct Position

It is also important to ensure VMPs are stored in the correct position inside the medical fridge. 

There should be at least 1cm left between medicine vials and most importantly, medicines must not touch the back wall, as this can lead to freezing.

Storing veterinary medication and vaccines in the correct way helps to ensure that the temperature levels within the medical fridge remain accurate.

Finally, do not overload the fridge with medicines. If you do, the temperature control can become less accurate and the chance of damage increases. Thus, fridges should be no more than 75% full at any time

Only Store VMPs Inside the Medical Fridge

Although it may sound like an obvious point, it is important not to store anything other than VMP’s in a veterinary medical fridge.

Storing food and drink inside a medical fridge is unhygienic, as medicines need to be stored in a clean environment, and it can also lead to cross contamination. Further, it can also impact the  temperature control in the medical fridge, so really must be avoided. 

Monitor Medical Fridge Temperatures Daily

Medical fridges come with powerful thermometers as a standard. To ensure that these thermometers are working optimally, temperatures must be logged on a daily basis. A member of senior staff should be assigned to this job and ideally, it should be done first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening.

Once the temperature has been recorded, the thermometer must be reset. Recordings should be logged in a dedicated book or ledger.

Come and Speak to us!

By following the steps above, veterinary practices and practitioners can ensure the VMPs they use that require medical refrigeration are stored correctly.

This will ensure they do not become damaged which in turn means they are safe to administer and unnecessary replacement expenses can be avoided.

If you’d like to speak to us about any of your veterinary medical fridge needs, contact us here.