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Change is Coming: Vets remind producers new antibiotic restrictions are just around the corner

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Under the new Guidance for Industry #263, issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “medically important” livestock antibiotics will no longer be available over the counter (OTC) and will require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian.

Since the new rule will take effect on June 11 – which is right around the corner – local veterinarians want to remind producers what this rule means for them. 

Prescription required

First and foremost, it is important for producers to understand, as of June 11, they will no longer be able to purchase antibiotics from a farm supply store, mail order or route driver without a veterinary prescription. 

Products requiring a prescription include injectable oxytetracyclines such as Liquamycin LA-200, Noromycin 300 LA, Bio-Mycin 200, Agrimycin 200, etc.; bolus oxytetracyclines such as Terramycin Scours Tablets and OXY 500 calf boluses; injectable penicillins such as Penicillin Injectable, Dura-Pen, Pro-Pen-G, Combi-Pen 48, etc. and intramammary penicillins such as Masti-Clear, Go-dry and Albadry Plus. 

Other products include injectable sulfa-based antibiotics such as Di-Methox 40 percent and SulfMed 40 percent; sulfa-based boluses such as Albon, Sustain III and Supra Sulfa III; injectable tylosin including Tylan 50 and Tylan 200 and cepharin products including intramammary ToDAY and ToMORROW. 

Swine products including injectable linomycin and gentamicin products will also fall under the new guidance. 

Antiparasiticides, injectable and oral nutritional supplements, oral pro and prebiotics and topical non-antibiotic treatments will not be affected by FDA’s rule and will remain available through OTC marketing channels. 

Establish a VCPR

A common concern among producers is the high price of veterinarian outcalls needed to obtain a prescription. However, according to the FDA, as long as a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) exists, vets are not required to examine individual animals before filling a prescription. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a VCPR requires the veterinarian to assume responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the patient, while the client agrees to follow the veterinarians’ instructions.

Additionally, the veterinarian must have sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the patient. 

“This means the veterinarian is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the patient by virtue of a timely examination of the patient by the veterinarian or medically appropriate and timely visits by the veterinarian to the operation where the patient is managed,” explains AVMA.

The association also explains in a VCPR the veterinarian must be readily available for follow-up evaluation or arrange for veterinary emergency coverage and continuing care and treatment; provide oversight of treatment, compliance and outcome and maintain patient records.

Producers can fill out and file VCPR forms at their local veterinary office.

Don’t stock up

Another misconception regarding the new rule is the limited availability of antibiotics.

Products are not being removed from the marketplace and will still be readily available, producers will just have to purchase them through the veterinarian’s office they have a VCPR with or with a prescription in hand at stores that will continue to carry these products. 

Many livestock health care professionals are encouraging producers to refrain from stocking up on OTC antibiotics to avoid getting a prescription and/or out of fear products will be harder to find. 

Producers need to remember these products have strict expiration dates and are sensitive to storage time and conditions. In fact, many products used after the expiration date will be less effective, may not work as intended and may lead to a higher incidence of treatment failure.

Purchasing a surplus of antibiotics now may result in a waste of product and money.

Therefore, it is critical – now more than ever – producers establish a VCPR with a trusted veterinarian so they can follow best antibiotic stewardship practices for their operation and easily transition these practices under FDA’s new guidance. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to 

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