Cattle Confusion: Livestock producers are raising eyebrows regarding a new FDA rule

A new rule by FDA requires antibiotics to be purchased by a veterinarian.

A rule change by the FDA means beginning next summer, ranchers and livestock owners will need a prescription from their veterinarians to purchase certain antibiotics, but Dr. Fred Gingrich with the American Association of Bovine Practitioners says there is some confusion going around.

“I think probably one of the biggest points of confusion for producers is that they believe, mistakenly, that a veterinarian is going to have to examine every sick animal and treat personally every sick animal, and that’s not the case. A lot of times, veterinarians write protocols and provide advice for the most common conditions cattle have, and producers treat those animals based on those protocols that the veterinarian has developed. We’ve been using prescription-only products in that manner for years and this will be no different,” said Gingrich.

Despite the changes, he says one of the most important things a producer can have is a good relationship with their vet.

“The first thing producers should do is make sure that they have what we call a VCPR, and that stands for a “veterinarian-client-patient relationship.” That means a veterinarian has made a timely and appropriate visit to the operation where the animals are held. Timeliness is often confusing, but it really depends on what a veterinarian is comfortable with for that farm,” Gingrich said.

He says overall, purchasing medications for your animals will not change, you will just have to obtain it from your veterinarian, versus the feed store.

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