This Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association.

The Food and Drug Administration recently tightened regulations on some drugs used in food-producing animals. The Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA has instituted new broader-based residue testing schemes.

Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has approved modifications to the Model Veterinary Practice Act involving the veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR).

The goal behind regulation changes is to produce a safe, wholesome food supply. However, there are obstacles such as working past the complexities of some of the regulations and understanding why they are important. Many veterinarians are still coming to terms with the provision under the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA).

One suggestion for avoiding obstacles is looking at the VCPR.

What is the VCPR?

According to the FDA, a valid VCPR is one in which:

  • The veterinarian assumes the responsibility for making medical judgments and providing medical treatment regarding the health of (an) animal(s) and the client (the owner) has agreed to follow the veterinarian's instructions;
  • The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) in order to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s); and
  • The practicing veterinarian is readily available for follow-up in the event of adverse reactions of the regimen of therapy.

This relationship is built after the veterinarian has recently seen and becomes personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s). This includes examining the animal(s) and regularly scheduled visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.

Producers are responsible for working with medical providers and must initiate and get a valid VCPR set in place for their facility.

DCHA Gold Standards recommends creating an ongoing relationship with a practicing herd veterinarian because it is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of all dairy animals. 

DCHA Gold Standards III states that the veterinarian should physically visit the operation and observe animals at least monthly. The veterinarian should also provide counsel, develop protocols and assist in employee training for all areas of management related to animal welfare.

For further reading, read VCPR - A relationship, not just a signature.