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Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)

The FDA established new guidelines regarding the use of antibiotics in feed or water. It affects a variety of producers, including large livestock operations, poultry, pigs and even those with pet rabbits.

The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), effective January 1, 2017, incorporates stricter rules on how we use medications for therapeutic uses in livestock (growth promotion and feed efficiency). Thus, certain antibiotics are no longer available over-the-counter (OTC).

Under this regulation, all medically important antibiotic administration in feed or water for food animal species require either a VFD or a prescription. The objective is to bring the use of these medications under veterinarian supervision to help reduce the risk for antibiotic resistance in humans and animals.

Click on the links below for details.

  • VFD (or ‘VFD Order’) is a written statement provided by a licensed veterinarian, authorizing the use of a VFD drug or combination VFD drug in or on animal feed. It authorizes a specific client to obtain and use the drug per written instructions, and is conditionally approved by the FDA.

  • Both prescription and VFD medications require the supervision of a veterinarian with an established VCPR (veterinarian-client-patient relationship). However, VFD medications are categorized separately.

    VFD: Medication approved for use in or on feed (e.g., OTC crumbles). VFDs are valid for no longer than 6 months. Meaning, producers have 6 months from the VFD Order date to fully administer the product or a new VFD is required.

    Prescription: Medication approved for use in animal(s) not in feed. Medications administered in water (e.g., TetraMed® 324) also fall into this category. Prescriptions are valid for a duration of 1 year.

    View our VFD or Rx Product? chart to see a list of products affected by this ruling.

  • Coccidiostats (such as Rumensin®, monensin, lasalocid, Corid®, Bovatec® or Deccox®) are not considered antibiotics, and do not have VFD requirements.

    Medicated feed labels, which once stated, ‘for increased feed efficiency or weight gain’ have been replaced and no longer feature that claim.

    Combination drugs—CTC medication or ionophores may or may not be used in conjunction with other. Click here for combination medicine details.

Talk to your veterinarian about all medications you currently use in your animals’ feed or water to ensure medications meet the requirements.

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