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Working with the New VFD Rule

January 5, 2017

Working with the New VFD (Veterinary Feed Directive) Rule

The New Year is already in full swing, and with it are some new rules from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that could affect you and your animals.

Titled the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), this new rule involves everyone who works with large animals, including veterinarians, distributors, and producers.

The intention of the rule is to limit specific antimicrobial (antibiotic) use in animal production to ensure humans benefit from these drugs when fighting bacterial infections. Too much use of these antibiotics over the decades has and could continue to affect human health by creating antibiotic resistant bacteria known as superbugs.

What's Affected

The good news is not everything is affected by the new VFD rule.  At this time, only products that are water soluble or added to feed are affected. Right now, it doesn’t include drugs injected into individual animals to treat diseases. However, the VFD list of affected products could continue to grow as the FDA rolls out more restrictions in the coming years.

Instead of trying to memorize restricted antimicrobials, simply look for this wording on the label:

Caution: Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this veterinary feed directive drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.

Meaning: if you do need a product that’s on the list, you’ll need a veterinarian’s okay to buy it.

Working with your Vet

If you don’t have one already, you’ll need to call and set up a “Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship (VCPR)”. Your vet will know what it is. Once established, they’ll be able to work directly with you on prescribing antimicrobials on the VFD list.

However, just because they prescribe something on the list doesn’t mean you’ll find what you need at any store. Most retailers have decided to not sell these items. Thankfully, Coastal Farm & Ranch is an approved distributor. We’re prepared to special order your VFD restricted products.

As April Fraly, the Animal Health Merchandise Manager at Coastal Farm & Ranch explained, “We’re also expanding offerings on products that can be used to help increase animal immunity and health instead of just treating illnesses.”

Quite a few manufacturers are making changes to the ingredients found in their products to keep them off the VFD list, which should make the transition easier for most folks.

Keep your Paperwork

Anytime a vet writes out a script for an item on the VFD list, they will write out a three-part VFD Order. They’ll keep a copy for their records and provide you with a copy. You’ll need to keep that copy for yourself and present one to the retailer when you purchase your VFD products (if the vet does not send it to the retailer for you). The vet, the retailer, and you must keep a copy of the VFD Order for two years from the issue date to avoid fines and legal action. You’ll find additional information and videos about VFD at FDA Website Here.

VFD Compliance Tips from Coastal

Establish a valid Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) as required in both Oregon and Washington.

Review your current list of medications. If any are on the list, talk to your veterinarian about alternatives or writing a VFD Order to cover your needs.

File all VFD documents for a minimum of 2 years.