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Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule

Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) Information for the Zoo and Wildlife Community:

Starting January 1, 2017, antimicrobial use in feed for food-producing animals will be under FDA's Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulations.  A VFD drug is intended for use in animal feeds, and such use of the VFD drug is permitted only under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian. You can find information about the VFD regulation on the FDA website at:

Additional information regarding VFDs can be found on the AVMA website at:

Practitioners of zoo and wildlife medicine should become knowledgeable about these new regulations in order to understand when they apply to our patients.

Legally, any cow, pig, chicken, turkey, duck, pheasant, quail, sheep, goat, catfish, salmonid, lobster or honeybee is a food-producing animal and must be treated as such when prescribing medications.

A Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) order is necessary if the animal to be treated is of a food-producing species AND needs to have an antimicrobial drug administered in feed or water.

Other antimicrobials, such as anti-coccidials, injectables, drugs given directly by mouth (not in feed or water) may require a prescription but do not require a VFD order.

Read drug labels to determine if a VFD order is necessary:

1)     Drugs that require a VFD will include the following statement on the label: "Caution: Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian."

2)     Drugs that require a prescription will include the following statement on the label:  “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”

Of special note, extra-label drug use rules and Minor Use/Minor Species (MUMS) Act do NOT apply to a VFD legend drug.  Use of a VFD must follow the approved labeling uses; any other use is strictly prohibited.

Also remember that certain drugs are prohibited for use in food-producing animals under any circumstance: 

Submitted to the AAZV and AAWV by Victoria L. Clyde, DVM on October 3, 2016


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