As we enter 2017, it is critical that all herds be in compliance with the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rules that are now in effect. In spite of the multitude of meetings, newsletters and discussions that have been held regarding this subject, very few farms have obtained a signed VFD to be in compliance with the new rules. The answers to most frequently asked producer questions are listed below:
The VFD applies only to medically important antibiotics in feed. In Virginia, AS700 and chlortetracycline (e.g. aureomycin), are the most commonly used VFD drugs.
These drugs are labeled for treatment/prevention of pneumonia and anaplasmosis. They cannot be used to treat any other condition, including pinkeye.
The dose and duration of treatment for VFD drugs cannot be altered. Repeat treatment of a group requires a new VFD from your veterinarian.
Drugs for the control of coccidia, including ionophores (Bovatec, Rumensin) and amprolium (Corid), are not used in human medicine and do not require a VFD when fed alone. However, they do require a VFD if fed in combination with a VFD drug.
Bovatec is the only ionophore that is labeled to be fed in combination with chlortetracycline. It is not legal to feed Rumensin and chlortetracycline in combination.
A VFD is required not only to purchase but to feed VFD antibiotics. Therefore, even if you have antibiotics left over that were purchased in 2016, you must have a VFD if you wish to continue feeding them.
A valid veterinary-client-patient relationship is required in order for a veterinarian to issue a VFD.
A VFD is good for a single group of animals, in a single location, for 6 months. A single farm may require multiple VFDs if feeding in multiple locations.
The FDA has made clear that they will be aggressively enforcing these rules. In spite of the significant effort on the part of producers, feed distributors, and veterinarians, there will be a learning curve in this process. Be sure to leave adequate time to work with your veterinarian and feed mill in obtaining the necessary documentation.