Veterinary Feed Directive's effect on livestock industry

By Matt Bochat
Dec. 3, 2016 at midnight

Feed store owner David Dierlam, points out chlortetracycline, an antibiotic ingredient in Nutrena NutreBeef Transition medicated cow feed. Under new FDA regulations, the feed will require a prescription to purchase.

Feed store owner David Dierlam, points out chlortetracycline, an antibiotic ingredient in Nutrena NutreBeef Transition medicated cow feed. Under new FDA regulations, the feed will require a prescription to purchase.   Angela Piazza for The Victoria Advocate

In 1996, Congress enacted the Animal Drug Availability Act for the approval and marketing of new animal drugs and medicated feeds. Before that time, drugs used in the animal industry were either over-the-counter or prescription-based. The Animal Drug Availability Act created a new category of products called veterinary feed directive drugs. These drugs were intended for use in or on animal feed (including water) and were obtained by the producer without a prescription. The veterinary feed directive drug category was created to avoid state pharmacy laws for prescription drugs, which were not applicable to medicated feed.

As of October 2015, new veterinary feed directive regulations went into effect for animal drugs already labeled as veterinary feed directive drugs. The new regulations require the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian if the veterinary feed directive drug is deemed medically important.

In addition to the veterinary feed directive rules, which removes performance or production claims from medically important antibiotics, the Food and Drug Administration plans to ramp up its monitoring on antibiotic use and resistance trends.

The Food and Drug Administration, USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will work together to develop and implement a plan to collect data on antibiotic use in food producing animals and get input from the public on gathering further data.

The veterinary feed directive rule that took effect in October 2015 affected three antibiotics currently classified as veterinary feed directive drugs in feed; Avilamycin, Florfenicol, and Tilmicosin. Of those, only Tilmicosin is used as a feed grade drug in cattle.

However, on Jan. 1, 2017, the list of veterinary feed directive drugs will expand to include all medically important antibiotics used in feed and water for prevention, control and treatment of disease. Cattle drugs affected at that time will include Neomycin, Tylosin, Virginiamycin, Chlortetracycline, and Oxytetracycline. Over-the-counter sales of antibiotics for use in feed and water will no longer be allowed and producers will need to work through their veterinarian to obtain a veterinary feed directive order for feed or a prescription for drugs in water.

Similarly to a medical doctor-patient relationship, the veterinarian will take the responsibility for the health of the animals and the client agrees to follow the veterinarian's instructions. The veterinarian must know the animals enough to make a preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition for which they will be treated. This will mean that the veterinarian will examine the animals or will make timely visits to the operation where the animals are managed. Finally, the veterinarian will provide complete oversight of treatment, compliance, and outcome while maintaining all records of treatment for a minimum of two years.

There are still some drugs in feed that will not require a veterinary feed directive. These will include Amprolium, Bacitracin, Bambermycin, Decoquinate, Fenbendazole, Laidlomycin, Lasalocid, Melengestrol acetate, Methoprene, Monensin, Morantel, Poloxalene, Ractopamine, and Tetraclovinphos. If you have any questions, you can give me a call at the Victoria County Extension Office at 361-575-4581 or contact your local veterinarian.

Matt Bochat is a County Extension Agent - Ag/Natural Resources Victoria County Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.


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