Vet’s Voice by Dr. Barz: A vet’s look at the Veterinary Feed Directive
The weather has been super in our area and the harvest is progressing rapidly. The beans should be done and the corn should have a real dent in it. Hopefully the cattle market has bottomed out and we are beginning a slow climb back to profit. Not only are producers concerned about decreased equity, but also about the new federal regulations which will go into effect January 1, 2017. Hopefully we will calm your fears about the future.
This process has been slowly moving for many years. In 1994 the Animal Medical Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA) allowed veterinarians to use any antibiotic for conditions not listed on the label. This act allows veterinarians to prescribe injectable and oral antibiotics for conditions not listed on the label. This off-label use does not apply to feed grade antibiotics. Technically treatments for pinkeye, and foot rots (off label treatments) were never legal in feed but it was seldom enforced.
The AMCUCA utilized the veterinarian as a facilitator of the program through the use of the prescription he or she wrote. The new generation antibiotics require prescriptions for normal label use as well as all off label use of other injectable antibiotics. Now after twenty years we will be required to provide prescriptions for water based medications.
In recent years food animal producers have been questioned by consumers over use of antibiotics leading to antibiotic resistance in human medicine. The government’s response has been the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). The VFD can only be written for approved usages and blends of ingredients. The use of antibiotics for improved weight gains and improved feed efficiency are no longer allowed. They believe that the continuous antibiotic usage leads to resistance. The veterinarian is also responsible for writing the VFD. It may be hand written or produced electronically. Once the VFD is written the veterinarian, the producers, and the feed mill/supplier must keep a copy for two years. The VFD’s may be written for a six-month period allowing the purchase of specific amounts of antibiotic. If not used in six months, a new VFD is written.
The drugs regulated by the VFD are those deemed to be medically important in humans. Common beef cattle feed grade antibiotics requiring VFD are:
• Chlortetracycline (Aureomycin, CLTC, Penncholor)
• Chortetracycline + Sulfamethazine (Aureo S 700)
• Neomycin + Oxytetracycline (Neo-Terramycin, Ne0-Oxy)
• Oxytertracycline (Terramycin, Pennox)
• Tylosin (Tylan)
• Tilmicosin (Pulmotil)
• Virginiamycin (V-Max)
Common Beef Cattle Feed Additives NOT requiring VFD are:
• Amprolium (Corid)
• Bacitracin (Albac, BMD)
• Bambermycin (GainPro)
• Decoquinate (Deccox)
• Fenbendazole (Safe-Guard)
• Laidlomycin (Cattlyst)
• Lasalocid (Bovetec)
• Melengestrol Acetate (MGA)
• Methoprene (Altosid)
• Monensin (Rumensin)
• Morantel (Rumatel)
• Poloxalene (Bloat Guard)
• Ractopamine (Optaflexx, Actogain)
• Tetraclovinphos (Rabon)
Your veterinarian is legally liable for your use of products used by order of the prescription or the VFD. It is left to the veterinarian to determine whether the veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is met. You must interact with your veterinarian to make proper usage happen. You are not denied usage of these products, only that you must keep minimal records of purchase and usage. It is good that we demonstrate the industry is using antibiotics responsibly and we are willing to document that usage. It can be as easy or as hard as you and your veterinarian prefer to make it. I do not feel it will be all that difficult if you have a good working relationship with your veterinarian. Stocking up a product prior to Jan 1 will not help because you will need a VFD to use the product on hand after Jan 1, 2017. Prepare now and the transition will be easy. Happy New Year!