Veterinary Feed Directives
Veterinary Feed Directives (VFD)
What is a VFD?
Beginning January 1, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration requires a written Veterinary Feed Directive, which is basically a prescription from your veterinarian for purchasing any medically important antibiotic (medications important in treating human diseases) to be used in feed or water to treat food animal species, even if the animal is not intended to be used for food production.
Why is this now required?
The increasing threat of antibiotic resistance to both human and animal health compelled the FDA to take action by transitioning previously over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotics in feed to VFD or prescription status. Any antibiotic use can contribute to antibiotic resistance, so it is important to avoid unnecessary or inappropriate uses of antibiotics. The use of medically important antibiotics in livestock is one factor that can contribute to increasing resistance, and the 2017 VFD revisions aim to put responsibility for their use into the hands of veterinarians, who are trained to understand not only when these medications are needed, but also what is the appropriate drug, dose, duration, and administration method to resolve the infection and protect animal health and our food supply.
How does this affect me?
Antibiotics can only be prescribed to be used in feed or water on food animal species if they are FDA approved for that species and for their labeled purpose. No off-label uses are permitted. For example, feed containing antibiotics can no longer be used off-label to increase weight gain and performance in livestock. We primarily use VFD’s to prescribe chlortetracycline treated mineral for the prevention of anaplasmosis in beef cattle.
What do I need to get a VFD?
You need to have a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) for any prescription from your veterinarian. This means that we must have had some form of contact with your herd within the last year either through a farm call or you brining animals in to our clinic. We can then make a recommendation for the proper prescription. If you have a preference for a particular product, please bring a copy of the feed tag from your feed store for us to evaluate.