Here at Bridger Veterinary Clinic, we have had a number of producers asking questions as of late regarding the introduction of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so here is a brief summary of the regulations coming into effect and their implications for our clients.  All of the following information has been obtained from the FDA’s web site.

The VFD has been introduced as a result of concern regarding antibiotic resistance associated with daily antibiotic use in animal feeds. Antimicrobial drugs should now only be used in food-production animals when considered necessary for the health of the animals, not for promoting their growth. Therefore, medically important antibiotics can be legally used in feed or water for therapeutic benefits, but the agency is moving to eliminate the use of such drugs for production purposes.

In order to more closely monitor the administration of drugs to food-producing animals, the FDA is putting a lot more emphasis on the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). Here in Montana, it is determined that the conditions of this relationship have been met if:

  1. “The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to the veterinarian’s instructions.”
  2. “The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s) by virtue of an examination of the animal(s) or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.”
  3. “The veterinarian is available for follow-up examination in the event of adverse reactions or failure of the treatment regimen.”

As of January 1, 2017, producers will be required to have a VFD Order from their veterinarian in order to obtain a VFD feed. The original copy of this form must be retained by the vet for two years, and a copy must be sent to the supplier and the producer. This document must contain a meticulous documentation regarding the veterinarian, the client, the premises where the animal(s) are located, a date of issuance and expiration, the name of the drug, the species and number of animals it will be fed to with why the drug has been deemed necessary, the amount of drug and duration of use, withdrawal time, and numerous other details. 

This may seem like a lot of information to take in, but Bridger Veterinary Clinic intends to work closely with our clients to make these changes as seamless as possible. This link can be used to access the VFD Producer Requirements fact sheet which may answer further questions for you. For further information, read Bridger Vet’s earlier blog post entitled “Understanding the Veterinary Feed Directive.”