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Revisiting the Veterinary Feed Directive one year later Featured

Written by  Thursday, 18 January 2018 21:16
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By Leilana McKindra

 

STILLWATER, Okla. – When stricter federal guidelines on the use of some antibiotics for food animals went into effect last year, producers all over the nation, including Jerry Meek in Ada, had a decision to make.


Should he spend the time and money to get a Veterinarian Feed Directive authorization from his veterinarian to continue treating his herd of about 30 cows?


Ultimately Meek decided to get the VFD authorization and his operation hasn’t missed a beat.


“Originally, when I heard about it, I thought it’s another $20 bucks I’d be spending. But, I understand where they’re coming from, if it’s something to help the market, producers and safety,” he said. “I rethought it and I appreciate they’re trying to help.”
The tightened guidelines, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2017, require producers to obtain authorization from a veterinarian to purchase medically important antibiotics, or medications important to treating human diseases, and give them to food animals through feed and drinking water.


Previously these drugs could be purchased over-the-counter, however, the FDA made the change to better track the use of antibiotics out of a concern for antimicrobial resistance.


Barry Whitworth, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension area food/animal quality and health specialist, said in the year since the new guidelines when into effect, there has been a mixed reaction from producers.


“Some people have been reluctant to switch over to the new requirements, so they’ve chosen not to use any products at this time,” he said. “Some people have gone to other means to control diseases such as using vaccinations.”
Meek said he has not had any issues with obtaining and using the VFD, which is renewable every six months. The charge for renewal varies by location.


“I’ve always used the medicated minerals and I’ve seen through the years of production a change in my animals and calving in doing it,” he said. “If it’s not broke, don’t worry about it. It’s not broke and it’s still working. I’m going to continue the same steps I’ve used.”


The impact of the stricter VFD is not yet known, however the big concern in Oklahoma is anaplasmosis, an infectious blood disease during which red blood cells are destroyed by the immune system causing cattle to become anemic.


“At this point in time, there hasn’t been any data gathered to show us that if people who are not using medicated minerals are having more problems with anaplasmosis than those who are,” Whitworth said.


Interestingly, some unanticipated positive trends have emerged from the strengthened VFD guidelines.


“People are talking to their vets more. We’re seeing better herd health management. We’re seeing people look more at vaccinations. We’re talking about biosecurity with people and controlling diseases,” Whitworth said. “There are things that have come out of this process we didn’t expect, but they are positive as far as for the producers and the health needs of the animals.”

 

 

On this SUNUP segment, Dr. Barry Whitworth shares an update on the Veterinary Feed Directive one year after stricter federal guidelines were implemented. http://sunup.okstate.edu/category/vet-scripts/2017/120917-vs?searchterm=veterin

 

 

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

 

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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