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Veterinary Feed Directives

October 1st 2015 the Veterinary Feed Directive program (VFD) went into effect to help reduce the amount of antibiotics used in food animal husbandry.  Even though the rules went into effect they were not enforced until 1/1/2017.  This program was started in 1996 with the tilmicosin antibiotic drug.  The list grew to 4x antibiotics in 2015 that required the VFD paperwork, and the list of all the VFD and over the counter (OTC) antibiotics which were approved for use in medicated feeds in 2015 were amoxicillin, ampicillin, avilamycin, chlortetracycline, cloxacillin, dihydrostreptomycin, florfenicol, gamithromycin, gentamicin, lincomycin, neomycin, ormetoprim, oxytetracycline, penicillin, pirlimycin, spectinomycin, sulfadimethoxine, sulfamerazine, sulfamethazine, sulfaquinoxaline, tildiprirosin, tilmicosin, tulathromycin, tylosin, tylvalosin and virginiamycin.  The USDA record keeping and the premise ID requirements were instigated years ago to help coordinate food animal production records.  This program will help our food animal export products as there is now a trace back system for antibiotics in food animals.  The European countries have been doing this for many years.  The intent of VFDs is to reduce the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics by unintentional overuse or misuse of the wrong antibiotic.

There will be very few OTC/non-prescription feed and water antibiotics available to use in food animal species.  There are a few medically non-important antibiotics in humans, such as bacitracin, BMD (bacitracin methylene disalicylate) and tiamulin which do not require a VFD.  The feed additives of coccidiostats, lasalocid, monensin (Rumensin), salinomycin, other ionophores and MGA will not need a VFD as these are not a concern for human health; their use will remain the same as before.  If these products are mixed in with a VFD product then they will be regulated and their directions will be involved in the VFD certificate.  Mineral supplements will also require a VFD if they contain a regulated antibiotic or drug.  To help understand the VFD regulations you can go to FDA/CVM website at  The is yet another site, and we highly recommend

For a VFD approval only the products labeled for that animal species can be utilized.  Any off label usage with a different brand is not allowed.  There cannot be any extra-label formulations or dosages at all for antibiotics in the feed.  The VFD and state laws require that there be a current client-veterinarian relationship; similar to any prescription item.  The VFDs have additional requirements that the veterinarian has knowledge and has visited the premises where these medicated feed products will be fed.  We cannot issues a VFD with a moment’s notice to any flock or herd that does not have a current exam on file.  Once authorized one cannot mix a VFD product into an animal’s feed and give/sell to another party unless you have a license to do so.  If you move the animals during the treatment time period we need to be notified. A VFD is only for one set of animals or pens per the description on the VFD form.  There also is no refills if you run out of the medicine early.  The maximum VFD will expire in 6 months.  The usual expiration date that will be listed is the maximum amount of time to feed the antibiotic, per the manufacturer’s labeling.  We cannot extend this time period without another VFD being issued.  In summary the VFD product itself will not expire in the 6 months maximum time period, and instead it is only the use of it for the specific animals on the VFD form.  If you have any unused VFD drug/feed you do not need to destroy the product.  The producer cannot use that excess VFD product until they contact their veterinarian for another VFD.  The veterinarian prescription antibiotics to treat food animals will not change, unless the medicine is mixed in a herd or a flock’s food.  Antibiotics to mix into water now will require a prescription.

All animals that produce food products (meat, milk, eggs, honey) are covered under the VFD rulings.  This will include someone with only one animal that is a pet of a food animal species (i.e. a pot belly pig).

It does not matter if there is only one animal (i.e. a 4-H lamb) or a large dairy, the rules are the same for all.  Some of the minor food animal species, such as bison, goats, camelids (milk), ratites, rabbits and yaks do not have any VFD products that are approved.  Fortunately we can utilize the prescription water medicines that are available for a herd or flock, and the individual sick animal will be treated the same as before with injections, etc.  There are also very few VFD products which are labeled for use in bees, fish, sheep, etc.  As one can imagine a VFD it is much more complicated than obtaining a narcotic prescription product to treat an animal (or human).

We have many handouts and herd, flock and VFD log sheets available for the producer to keep track of problems so that the veterinarian can write a VFD.  Once a VFD is authorized the owner’s copy must be kept n file for 2 years, even if it is a pet food animal species.



1          client name

2          animal location

3          species

4          number of animals

5          VFD medication

6*        Production class of animals

7          Indication for use (problem being treated)

8          Expiration date of VFD (length of medication per the manufacturer’s directions)

9          dosage (per manufacturer or maybe the feed additive compendium)

10        Feed concentration

11        Cautionary Statements

12        Special instructions

13        Withdrawal times, to be determined by the veterinarian.

14        VFD statement by the veterinarian

15        Combination of drugs (i.e. if allowed)


* The client needs to tell us what type of production class the animals are:.


Beef cattle, beef calves, calves up to 250#,  calves 250-400#, growing cattle > 400#, beef cattle < 700#,

beef cattle > 700#, heifer, replacement cattle, cattle on pasture, breeding cattle, lactating cattle,

cattle in confinement for slaughters


Dairy Cattle, veal calves, dairy cattle, dairy females < 20 months, dairy heifers on pasture

dry dairy cow, non-lactating dairy cow



Goats, goats young non-lactating

Rabbits, rabbits domestic young


Sheep, lambs, sheep domestic breeding, sheep domestic growing, sheep young domestic non-lactating

Swine, swine starting, swine growing, swine weaning pig < 14 weeks, swine weaner to 120#,

swine 120# excluding breeding, swine feeder pigs < 250#, swine finishing,  market pigs,

roaster pigs, boars, sows, swine sows pregnant

Chickens, chicks up to 7 days, replacement chicken, broiler, fryer, roaster, chickens < 16 weeks,

chicken laying 1st 7 months, laying hen,  chickens not laying eggs for human consumption Chukar partridge, Chukar partridge chicks < 8 weeks

Ducks, laying ducks


Quail, quail bobwhite, growing quail, quail not over 5 weeks, quail

Pheasant, pheasant growing

Turkey, growing, turkey meat, turkey poults < 4 weeks, turkey not laying eggs for human consumption

Other poultry




Aquatic, catfish, fresh water finfish, warm water finfish, Salmonids, salmonids fresh water, shrimp,

trout, lobster


To request a VFD the regulations do not allow a phone or an oral approval to the VFD distributor; Nelson Road Veterinary Clinic is a VFD distributor.  You, the producer, will need to have the information for the first 7x areas above, before a request can be made.  Fax or email the producer’s VFD log of that animal species with the request, if such a log has not been mailed or dropped by within the last year.  Below are two such VFD Logs record examples.  The VFD request can be faxed to us after hours, for next business day review.  You can also drop it by the clinic and leave it after hours on the east entry door (towards town).  If emailing ensure you call the clinic when we open so that the request and information is not lost in junk mail.  Please identify the subject as a VFD request.  For efficiency you can bring in a VFD form and pick up the product, or give us the VFD information and pick up the product and we will send the VFD form with you so that you can then start the medication, the patient herd or flock has had an exam recently within the last year.  If you own any of the above listed species, and we have never seen them, it is recommended that you now drop off a stool sample for a fecal exam to enroll those animals as a herd, flock or as a single patient to be eligible for VFD products and to also enroll them in the HMS system for reduced fees.  For a herd or flock just obtain a teaspoon of a sample from 4-6 different stools and mix in one zip lock bag, which you can leave by the east entrance after hours.  We can send the VFD product and the producer’s records to you in the mail.  A prescription/VFD product can also be left out after hours for client pick up at the clinic with enough notice for a currently active client.