An ongoing relationship with a practicing herd veterinarian is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of your dairy animals. The Dairy Animal Care Quality Assurance (DACQA) guidelines and Gold Standards III stress the importance of a valid veterinary client/patient relationship (VCPR), which includes your veterinarian making regular herd visits, providing employee training and developing herd management protocols.

But, what is a VCPR? Here are some criteria to consider from the DACQA guidelines:

  • Your veterinarian assumes responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need for medical treatment, and you have agreed to follow your veterinarian's instructions.
  • Your veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of your animal(s) to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means that your veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with your care and keeping of the animal(s) by virtue of an examination of the animal(s), or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.
  • Your veterinarian is readily available, or has arranged for emergency coverage, for follow-up evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or failure of the treatment regimen.

Learn more about your beef-checkoff funded Dairy Beef Quality Assurance program.

DCHA's Gold Standards III - Veterinarian Involvement

It is recommended and considered to be very important for there to be an ongoing relationship with a practicing herd veterinarian. This is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of all dairy animals.  

A. The veterinarian should physically visit the operation and observe animals at least monthly.

B. The veterinarian should provide counsel, develop protocols and assist in employee training for all areas of management related to animal welfare. 

Source: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association