As many have heard, the USDA have released a new rule regarding antibiotics for animal use. This rule went into effect last month on June 11, 2023. For animal owners, this means that all antibiotics purchases will require a veterinary prescription. These antibiotics have to be purchased from a licensed pharmacy and they are no longer be available for purchase over the counter. To accept prescriptions, feed stores also have to be licensed.
For farmers and ranchers, this means to obtain antibiotics, you will need to have a VCPR, or a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship. A VCPR exists to make sure your veterinarian knows your farm, livestock, and management to best diagnose and treat any issues you may have. For many veterinarians, this VCPR can be upheld with yearly visits to your farm. This VCPR can aid in emergencies, allowing your veterinarian to best treat your animals.
Why Are These Rules Being Put into Effect?
This guidance is being issues by the FDA to combat antimicrobial resistance, which is a serious issue to both animal and human health. Antibiotics used in animals can contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance. Having the guidance of a veterinarian when using these antibiotics can ensure that these antibiotics are used correctly, not overdosing or underdosing. Veterinarians can also recommend the most effective antimicrobial for the issue on the farm.
As a growing sector of livestock production is moving away from antibiotic use in food animals, there is an increased focus on disease prevention and enhanced animal health. As antibiotic use becomes more regulated, it is important to prioritize animal health in other ways. To learn about different ways to promote animal health and disease prevention on your farm, check out The Livestock Project’s Organic/Alternative Animal Health Course. More information on that course and its chapters can be found here.