1. Develop a relationship
A key component of producers having a flawless transition to the new VFD regulations is to have a good working relationship with their herd veterinarian, or a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship as it is referred to. Producers should already have a good relationship with their herd veterinarian, but an official VCPR will need to be in place because a VFD drug is only permitted under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Antibiotics that are deemed “medically important” to humans will now only be attainable to producers if they have a VFD from their herd veterinarian. “If you don’t routinely use a herd veterinarian, you will need one if you want to use medically important antibiotics moving forward,” says Chris Rademacher, an Iowa State University swine Extension veterinarian and GVL consultant.
He says not all VCPRs are created equal and they may vary by state. To find the VCPR requirement for your state, visit www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm460406.htm.
This relationship has to be between the producer and a specific veterinarian, and not a blanket veterinary clinic. Vague language exists that is open to interpretation as to what constitutes “timely visits to premises,” but Rademacher suggests that’s a discussion producers need to have with their veterinarian to determine what’s expected. “It’s not every five years, and it’s not weekly,” he says. “I’d hope it would be interpreted as somewhere between quarterly to annually for each individual site. It would also be advisable to have routine, frequent communications with your veterinarian and to be sure to document all those interactions.”
Under the VCPR, the herd veterinarian assumes responsibility for the VFD, but the client (producer) agrees to follow the instructions of the veterinarian.