Environmental Risk Assessment of Veterinary Drugs

Course Description

Through a series of case study-related assignments and online discussions, students will learn to recognize and then assess the harmful consequences that arise when various classes of veterinary agents are administered and the different means by which they gain entry and persist in the environment. A comprehensive overview of risk assessment approaches used to mitigate these hazards and the suite of actions that can be taken to pre-empt and mitigate risks will be provided. Students will also gain deeper insight into the breadth of pertinent environmental and wildlife regulations, with examples of relevant stakeholders from whom to gather salient information and form partnerships for best management and drug administration practices within their own communities.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will have the ability to:

  • Evaluate a product’s potential repercussions to the environment through a number of critical stages – from R&D to administration, disposal and beyond;
  • Apprise themselves of the local regulations for safe/legal usage, expired product and carcass disposal;
  • Be conversant with the relevant wildlife and environmental regulations, and be aware of the associated penalties – whether for veterinarians or members of the public – when these are for their contravened;
  • Recognize when the available regulations offer inadequate protection – or when a product is inherently unsafe to wildlife – and seek out appropriate courses of action or assistance;
  • Identify key stakeholders and decision-makers within their immediate community and elsewhere to develop partnerships through which to implement environmentally safe veterinary agent management practices and outreach initiatives.


Module Topic
Module 1 Then as now
Module 2 Case 1 – Sodium pentobarbital, companion/livestock animals and wildlife
Module 3 Case 2 – Ivermectin and dung beetles
Module 4 Case 3 – Secondary exposure of captive wildlife to veterinary agents and other toxic compounds (e.g., heavy metals, rodenticide) in zoos and rehabilitation facilities
Module 5 A comprehensive review of the existing wildlife and environmental protection worldwide
Module 6 Dissecting and critiquing existing regulations
Module 7 The nuts and bolts of the risk assessment
Module 8 A critique of current risk assessment approaches and perspectives drawing from the case of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the Asian Vulture Crisis
Module 9 Beware erroneous perceptions and assumptions!
Module 10 Stakeholders, community responsibilities and partnerships
Module 11 Education and Outreach
Module 12 What will you do now?