Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)

The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) is being implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in all 50 states. The final version of the VFD was declared in 2015.

The FDA is taking steps to make changes in how medically important antibiotics will be used in feed and water for livestock. They are moving to eliminate the use of these medically important antibiotics for growth promotion and feed efficiency while having the therapeutic uses in feed and water under a licensed veterinarians supervision.

The FDA will require veterinarians to follow state-defined veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) requirements. Nebraska defines the VCPR as follows (R.R.S. Nebraska Sec. 38-3316):
“(1) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions;

(2) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal. This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by virtue of an examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept; and

(3) The veterinarian is readily available or has arranged for emergency coverage and for followup evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or the failure of the treatment regimen.”

They will also defer to individual states for specific veterinary professional conduct. (Nebraska’s Sec. 38-3312 (1)):

“(1) To diagnose, treat, correct, change, relieve, or prevent animal disease, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical or mental conditions, including the prescription or administration of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique, and the use of any manual or mechanical procedure for testing for pregnancy or fertility. The acts described in this subdivision shall not be done without a valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship”

The veterinarian has the important role in animal and human health by making sure medically important antimicrobial drugs are used according to label directions and only when appropriate to make sure animals are healthy.


More resources and information on VFD and antibiotic use:

To learn more about the VFD, read about it from the FDA’s Fact Sheet.

Minnesota Pork Board, spoke with Dr. Laura Bruner, DVM, of Swine Vet Center and Dr. Liz Wagstrom, DVM, Chief Veterinarian, of National Pork Producers Council to answer questions about the new antibiotic guidelines. Read their responses on Minnesota Pork Board’s website.

National Pork Board’s Antibiotic Information/Resources.

Global Vet Link webinar Swine Production VFD Survival Strategy.

Webinar sponsored by Zoetis called Responsible Use of Antibiotics: Understanding the VFD.