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Veterinary feed directive rules are here

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last year, you’ve probably heard about the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) Rules. These rules took effect January 1, 2017. Some of you may have gone to your local feed store to purchase a medicated feed or medicated supplement, only to be told that they could not sell it to you without your VFD paperwork.

Before we get into the meat of the discussion let’s be clear, there are NO CRYSTALYX® products that are affected by the new VFD ruling. However, there are a couple of very solid reasons why a good understanding of the new rules is important to all livestock producers.  1) The first line of defense associated with any disease is prevention.  There are uniquely fortified products within the CRYSTALYX® product line that have years of results in keeping herds healthy and these options are available to you. 2) There will be times when you are faced with a disease, such as Anaplasmosis, and the need for antibiotics to help treat your cattle will be a tool that can help you manage the conditions.  A good understanding of how antibiotics may be delivered in feed or a supplement can be of great benefit without trying to handle and restrain cattle.

Since VFD’s are new for most everyone (veterinarians included!), let’s go over what is involved in obtaining a VFD.  If you need a VFD medicated feed for treatment or prevention in your herd, you need to contact your veterinarian. (See Table 1 for a list of drugs requiring VFDs after January 1, 2017.) Depending upon the situation, your veterinarian may need to make a farm visit to examine the animals.

Once your veterinarian has determined that use of a VFD drug is warranted, he/she will fill out a VFD form (See Figure 1 for an example) to authorize use for your animals.

This form will contain full contact information for both the veterinarian and the producer. It will also indicate the drug, drug level in the product and drug delivery, as well as the drug claim. Most drug manufacturers have streamlined this process by creating VFD forms that already have this information pre-filled in and the veterinarian only needs to check the correct box(es). Please be advised that your veterinarian can only issue VFDs based on legal drug claims approved by FDA. For instance, your veterinarian cannot issue a VFD for treatment of footrot with chlortetracycline.

The VFD will also be specific as to the duration of treatment and the group of animals being treated. If you have multiple groups of cattle in multiple locations, you will likely need multiple VFDs that are specific to each group.

The veterinarian will also indicate if the producer may use this VFD drug in combination with other approved drugs.

Finally, the veterinarian will indicate the date of VFD issuance and will set an expiration date, not to exceed 6 months from the date of issuance.

This form may be filled out in hard copy form, or electronically. Your veterinarian will issue you a copy and will need to send a copy to your feed dealer/manufacturer. Your local feed dealer cannot sell you the VFD feed or supplement without the possession of the VFD form. Failure to have this form at the time of order will result in delays in obtaining your medicated feed or supplement. The dealer must have the actual copy of the VFD paperwork in hand and cannot place an order or manufacture feed based on “the promise” that a VFD is coming soon.

The VFD form will need to be retained for 2 years by the veterinarian, producer and the feed dealer and/or manufacturer. This form needs to be produced upon request in the event of an FDA inspection.

So in summary, if you have regularly used drugs in the past that are now classified as VFD drugs, please be mindful of the extra steps and extra time involved in obtaining those medicated feeds and/or supplements now and plan accordingly. Don’t get caught with your pants down by not having the proper VFD paperwork when you need it. Once you obtain properly filled out VFD forms from your veterinarian, you must keep these in your records for 2 years from the date of issuance and be capable of producing them upon inspection.

If you have additional questions about VFDs or the VFD process, visit Kansas State’s free educational module at www.beefcattleinstitute.org/vfd-mod/ or FDA’s site at www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm071807.htm.  If you have additional questions, feel free to contact your local veterinarian, feed dealer or CRYSTALYX® representative and we will help guide you as best as we can. Sources:Elanco. USBBUNON01097: How is antibiotic use going to change under proposals put forth by FDARidley USA Inc. Veterinary Feed Directive for Cattle Aureo® Anaplaz Block 700.


Figure 1. Example of a Veterinary Feed Directive for Cattle.

Figure 1. Example of a Veterinary Feed Directive for Cattle.