Antibiotic Regulations: Will we have the tools we need to raise cattle?
Written by Dr. Nora Schrag
The short answer is yes, but it will require effective teamwork between veterinarians and producers. The most important step for a producer to take is to build a relationship with a veterinarian who can work with you to make sure your animals stay healthy. The regulatory description of this relationship is a Veterinary Client Patient Relationship, or VCPR.
For producers familiar with working with their veterinarian as a team to achieve the best production standards for their cattle, these new regulations won’t require any change in this relationship. A valid VCPR means that your veterinarian knows and understands your production system well enough to take responsibility for prescribing drugs that are used in your operation. Below is a short list summarizing the responsibilities of both sides of a VCPR:
Provide information to the veterinarian about routine production practices such as vaccination programs, etc.
Listen and understand what prevention programs are in place so that recommendations fit well with the existing program
Involve the veterinarian in treatment decisions. This can be as complex as developing a treatment protocol specific to the production system, or as simple as phone contact with your veterinarian when an animal needs to be treated.
Provide services appropriately tailored to each farm to achieve the highest level of animal health possible within the economics of the production system.
Follow veterinarian instructions to avoid drug residues in food.
Provide instructions on dose, route, and withdrawal times in a manner that is easy to understand, and practical for the particular production system.
Keep records of animals treated. Date, drug given, amount, and route of administration (i.e. oral, SQ, IM, etc.)
Help to develop a practical means for keeping treatment records, and to use these records as a point of review to refine the treatment program for each producer.