Are you ready for VFD antibiotic changes?

"Jan. 1, 2017 is real. It's a real deadline. It's when the changes happen on the labels for those human medically important antibiotics. We can no longer use them for growth promotion purposes."

That's what Dr. Dave Pyburn with the National Pork Board told Ag Day TV at World Pork Expo as he discussed the upcoming start of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). The rule ends over-the-counter purchases of medically important antibiotics in feed for all livestock..

Now producers will need to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), work through this designated veterinarian and obtain VFD orders to use antibiotics.

"If we are going to use those human medically important drugs, we need to do it for prevention, control or treatment of disease. To be able to do that, we have to have a veterinary diagnoses and a VFD," said Pyburn.

Smaller Producers Face Bigger Challenges
As PORK Network Editor JoAnn Alumbaugh explained, larger operations have an advantage over smaller producers.

"It won't be as much of a change for them as it will be for smaller producers who will now need to develop a VCPR," she said.

Pyburn agrees.

"We have hogs produced in all 50 states, and there may not be veterinarians for miles and miles around - maybe even 100 miles in some cases," he explained. "Those are the people who will be most impacted because they are still going to need to abide by the same rules."

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What To Expect
One of the issues pork producers should expect to face after the rule takes effect is the potential increase in post-weaning scours.

Pyburn explained, that 12 years ago or so, Denmark pulled growth-promoting antibiotics from pig diets.

"They did see a higher level of post-weaning scours and I think we will see some of that...We may have to do more treatment of pigs in the beginning because of some of the post-weaning scours," Pyburn said.

Watch the video below for the full interview: