Sheep Industry Compliance with VFD
February 24, 2017

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, stricter federal rules regulate how medically important antibiotics can be administered to animals in feed and drinking water. This was a much discussed topic during the 2017 American Sheep Industry Association annual convention in Denver in January.

DVM's Cindy Wolf and Jim Logan, co-chairs of the ASI Animal Health Committee, spoke with attendees about the directive and how the sheep industry can comply.

"Producers should foster a relationship with their veterinarian," said Wolf. "Both parties should work together because it benefits both of us to do that."

Sheep producers will still have access to those antibiotics they were using prior to the directive, now they just need a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

"Basically, the drugs that we have always used will still be available, however, many of them will require a feed directive written by a state-licensed veterinarian who is familiar with the operation, has seen the livestock and has worked with the producer," said Logan.

According to Meg Oeller, DVM, Ph.D., Food and Drug Administration Veterinary Medicine, "The Compliance Policy Guide allows the veterinarian to write a VFD or an over-the-counter recommendation for extra-label use in minor species only (sheep and goats) as long as it is for therapeutic use and is in the context of a valid client-veterinary-patient relationship. We are going to say that we will not ordinarily take any action against this use even though it is not legal - it is a policy of enforcement discretion. The CPG spells out very clearly each party's role in the case of over-the-counter drugs and VFD drugs."

A video of the interviews, prepared by Russell Nemetz, Nemetz Communications, is available on ASI's YouTube channel at