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Applying Transdermal Gels: Medication Made Easy


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Compounding is the professional and scientific preparation of a customized prescription medication. With a compounding prescription from your veterinarian, a compounding pharmacy can take FDA-approved, and/or pharmaceutical-grade medications and compound them into the correct dosage and administration method for your pet. One typical veterinary use for compounding a medication is to make the dosage easier for the owner to give their pet. If your cat's medication can be compounded into a transdermal gel, this is one of the easiest forms of medications to use.

The medication in a transdermal gel is mixed with a special compound that promotes the absorption of the medication through the skin. To ensure your cat receives the proper amount of medication, please follow these recommendations.

Sites of Application
  • Transdermal gels need to be applied to clean skin that has little hair, and on an area that your pet cannot lick. Usually this is on the inside of the ear.
  • If applying gel to the ears, only apply to the tip of the ear. Do not apply the gel to the ear canal.
  • Switch the site at which you apply the gel each time. For instance, alternate ears each time a dose is given.
  • Do not shave the hair from the area where the gel is going to be applied. This may abrade the skin and affect absorption of the gel.
  • Do not apply a gel to broken or abraded skin.
  • Once a week, clean the area to which the medication is applied with mild soap and water, and choose another site to give the medication.
Compounding a prescription to make the dosage easier for the owner to give to their pet


Applying transdermal gel on the skin inside the ear.


You can administer
a gel on the skin
inside the ear.

9 TIPS for Applying Transdermal Gels:

  1. Use a moist paper towel or gauze to gently wipe the area where the gel is going to be applied. Allow the area to dry.

  2. Use gloves or a finger cot (glove finger tip) when applying the gel. Use a cot on both your thumb and index finger.

  3. Remove the cover from the syringe and place the correct amount of gel on your gloved index finger.

  4. Apply the gel to the skin and gently massage the gel with your gloved index finger onto the area until the gel is completely absorbed.

  1. Turn on the faucet with your ungloved hand and rinse the hand with the glove or finger cots well under running water.

  2. Remove the cots or gloves with a paper towel and dispose of them properly (in a container that children or pets cannot reach).

  3. Place the cover back on the syringe (if the syringe contains multiple doses). Wash your hands well.

  4. Separate your cat from children and other pets for about 15 minutes after application of the gel to allow time for the medication to be absorbed.

  5. Also prevent your pet from rubbing the application area on any clothing or furniture.

To learn more about transdermal gels and other compounding options, please click here.

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