A lack of adequate record-keeping on the farm is the most common problem identified by investigators during investigations involving on-farm residue violations.

“It’s extremely important in your record-keeping, in addition to having all the accurate records associated with the animal, that you have established a documented veterinarian-client-patient relationship,” says Craig Shultz, veterinarian with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Health & Diagnostic Services.

The Dairy Calf & Heifer Association’s Gold Standards III also stresses the importance of veterinarian involvement and the importance of “keep(ing) handwritten and/or computerized records of all treatments.”

Being able to prove that a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship exists is especially important when administering prescription drugs or using a drug in an extra-label manner, Shultz said during a DAIReXNET webinar on Nov. 11, 2011.

When it comes to using over-the-counter drugs, always follow label directions exactly.

“If you vary from those directions, you have a potential problem without a VCPR (veterinarian-client-patient relationship),” Shultz said.

Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) guidelines state that treatment records should be transferred with the cattle to their next production owner or location. Maintain treatment records for a minimum of two years after change of ownership or location. Please see the DACQA manual for more information about what to include in treatment records.

The DACQA program is a voluntary, national certification program intended to enhance and demonstrate quality animal-care practices. These practices assure food safety, quality and value as well as enhance consumer confidence in the milk and beef products that are harvested from cattle on America’s dairy farms.

For additional information on the importance of veterinarian involvement and following vaccination and drug therapy protocols, refer to Dairy Calf & Heifer Association’s Gold Standards III, animal welfare standards for rearing calves and heifers, from birth to freshening, across the United States.