Veterinary Feed Directive

In recent years, the FDA has fundamentally changed how antibiotics can be legally used in feed and water for food-producing animals. The agency has worked to eliminate antibiotic use for growth promotion and feed efficiency and has brought therapeutic uses of antibiotics in feed and water under the direct supervision of licensed veterinarians.

The FDA has established the Veterinary Feed Directive to provide veterinarians in all states guidelines for prescribing medically necessary antibiotics in feed and water when needed for the health of food-producing animals.

How the Veterinary Feed Directive Affects You

As of January 1, 2017, every livestock producer using an antibiotic considered important to human health must comply with the Veterinary Feed Directive.

Before you can use feeds containing antibiotics for food-producing animals, you’ll need to receive a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Your licensed veterinarian must have a documented veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) with you and your animal(s) before issuing your VFD.

You’ll need a VFD for all feed products containing antibiotics, including complete feeds, medicated supplements, and crumbles. A VFD is not required for antibiotics administered by injection.

You can learn more about the Veterinarian Feed Directive directly from the FDA: Veterinary Feed Directive.

Veterinary Feed Directive Basics

Your veterinarian can write a VFD that is effective for up to six months.

Your veterinarian, your feed supplier(s), and you must keep a copy of each VFD for two years.

Extra-label use of medicated feed additives has not been and will not be allowed.

Antibiotics Regulated Under the Veterinary Feed Directive

  • Penicillins
  • Aminoglycosides
  • Diaminopyrimidines
  • Lincosamides
  • Macrolides
  • Streptogramins
  • Sulfas
  • Tetracycline

Required Information for Your Veterinary Feed Directive

  • Your veterinarian’s contact information
  • Information about your animals including the location where medicated feed will be used, animal species, production class, and an estimated number of animals ingesting medicated feed
  • Information about the medication including the medication prescribed, the withdrawal period for the medication, the indication for use, duration for use, and expiration date

Your First Steps to Comply with the VFD

The VFD will affect producers of all sizes, from small producers with fewer than 20 head to feedlots. All producers will need to develop a documented veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR).

The first step is to select a veterinarian and have them out to your farm or ranch to evaluate herd health and your facilities.

HPCS has two on-staff veterinarians which means we can provide the VCPR as well as write and fill your Veterinary Feed Directive.

Contact our Veterinarian

We encourage you to call Dr. Klein directly to discuss any questions you have about the VFD and its effect on your operation.

  • Dr. Hannah Klein, DVM
    Dr. Hannah Klein, DVM 970.658.6468

Learn More About the Upcoming Veterinary Feed Directive

The Fence Post  The Veterinary Feed Directive from a Vet’s Perspective: A conversation with Hannah Klein at High Plains Cattle Supply

Read Article

The Greeley Tribune  Upcoming livestock antibiotic regulations likely to hit smaller producers harder

Read Article

Have Questions about the Veterinary Feed Directive?

Dr. Klein, and the HPCS staff, is here to answer any questions you have about the VFD. Let us know how we can help you understand and be prepared for this initiative.

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