Use the 2017 VFD Changes to Your Advantage

The first day of 2017 marked a monumental change in agricultural antibiotic use. On this date, the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) became effective, changing the status of medically important feed-grade antibiotics from over-the-counter (OTC) to VFD designation. 

Use the 2017 VFD changes to your advantage Rather than viewing the 2017 Veterinary Feed Directive changes as a restrictive measure, see it as a chance to refine how antibiotics are utilized on your operation. Are sick animals receiving the most efficient and effective treatments? Are there any other management practices you could employ to improve overall animal health, thereby reducing the need for antibiotics? Below is the Veterinary Feed Directive drug list effective January 1, 2017. 

The following drugs became Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) drugs as of 1/1/17: 

• Apramycin (not marketed) 

• Avilamycin (already VFD) 

• Chlortetracycline 

• Erythromycin (not marketed) 

• Florfenicol (already VFD) 

• Hygromycin B 

• Lincomycin 

• Neomycin (not marketed alone) 

• Oleandomycin (not marketed) 

• Oxytetracycline 

• Penicillin (approval withdrawn) 

• Sulfamethazine (not marketed alone) 

• Sulfadimethoxine/Ormetoprim 

• Sulfamerazine (not marketed) 

• Tilmicosin (already VFD) 

• Tylosin 

• Virginiamycin 

Treating illness through responsible antibiotic use remains a necessary part of good animal husbandry. But by narrowing antimicrobial drug use to limited durations for therapeutic purposes only, we advance as an industry and agriculture gains greater respect. 

Preparing for VFD 

What medications do you use currently? Which ones will be affected? Talk with your veterinarian, feed supplier, and nutritionist and put together a plan for complying with VFD. Determine how you will manage and feed VFD feeds according to regulation. 

To make it easier and faster for producers to meet VFD feed documentation requirements, 

Purina Animal Nutrition is using the RxExpress™ software platform from New Planet Technologies. This turn-key software solution can be used to generate, distribute and store electronic VFD orders. RxExpress™ runs on any computer or smart mobile device, online or offline. It can receive records from other electronic VFD systems and can convert paper VFD orders to electronic format. RxExpress™ streamlines order validation and tracks expiration dates. It also can generate and send non-VFD prescriptions. 

Now that the VFD is in effect, remember these important points: 

  • Administer an animal feed drug according to the product label and VFD order. 
  • Avoid extra-label use of VFD medications (such as feeding for different time duration or feeding to different animal species). 
  • Do not feed a VFD feed after the VFD expiration date. 

Nutrition: the bedrock of healthy animals Optimal nutrition is an essential building block in maintaining good health and making animals more resistant to challenges that require treatment. With the 2017 VFD changes, take this opportunity to focus more attention on your herd’s nutrition. Evaluate how certain nutritional approaches can help you reach animal growth, health and performance goals. 

At Purina Animal Nutrition, they're focused on animal feed innovations that allow them to achieve the greatest potential in every animal. As such, discovering and creating nutrition solutions that stimulate growth and performance without the use of antibiotics. 

By choosing products that deliver the best possible nutrition and performance, you lessen the need for antibiotics from both a therapeutic and production perspective. As you acclimate to the new VFD environment, you’re likely to find a nutrition-based approach provides long-term benefits to both animal well-being and operational success. 

For more information, contact your River Valley Cooperative animal nutrition experts:

Shawna Lorenzen, Livestock Production Specialist, 563-320-7276 - slorenzen@rivervalleycoop.com

Tom Dale, Swine Account Manager, 563-357-0093 - tdale@rivervalleycoop.com

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