Sponsored By
The Farmer Logo

Veterinary-producer relationship needed by June 11Veterinary-producer relationship needed by June 11

Over-the-counter drugs are no longer available without a prescription.

Kevin Schulz

May 30, 2023

3 Min Read
Piglet receiving vaccination
EXPECT DELAYS: Livestock producers need to forge relationships with their veterinarian or they may be left waiting for a prescription that is vital to preserving the health of their herd.Courtesy of National Pork Board

Livestock producers know it’s best to plan for the worst and hope for the best, and that outlook includes having a close working relationship with a veterinarian.

An established veterinarian relationship will become even more imperative soon. As of June 11, the latest Food and Drug Administration guideline enforces a prescription requirement for over-the-counter drugs such as injectable penicillin, tetracycline and sulfa drugs; oral medications like neomycin; and intramammary tubes, like those used to treat mastitis.

“Producers won’t be able to just go to the feed store and pick up certain antibiotics like they used to if they saw something that the veterinary professional would see routinely, and the producer would feel comfortable identifying what it [the ailment] is and know what over-the-counter solution is,” says Michael Crusan, communications director at the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. “Now, going forward, you won’t be able to do that. Instead, what it does is it puts that veterinarian in there to make sure that it is something that is being identified correctly, that the veterinarian has that relationship with the producer and knows the animals so they can look through the situation.”

New veterinary feed directive rules were established by FDA in 2017; this is a further step, as Crusan sees it, to “make sure that for antibiotics, it’s something that’s being used correctly, being used judiciously. Obviously, the end goal of this is to avoid antimicrobial resistance.”

The FDA works to ensure antibiotics are only for the treatment, prevention and control of disease under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Important relationship

Under these new guidelines veterinarians are no longer allowed to simply write prescriptions for clients without having worked with the animals in question. Livestock producers need to talk to a veterinarian about their animals and their needs today, because after June 11 it may take longer than usual to get certain medications if a producer does not have an established veterinary-client relationship.

Crusan says the approach of the Board of Animal Health is encouraging, regardless of the medicinal aspect, “that anyone who owns a pet or livestock keeps veterinarians in their circle; so that if there ever is a problem with the animal, you have that veterinarian who you know, who you trust, who knows your animals. … That’s really what we’re always pushing for is to make sure that people don’t just raise animals out on their own and try ‘MacGyver’ veterinary care because that just is not going to go well. You always want to have that relationship established with a veterinarian.”

Having an established veterinarian-client relationship will also serve producers down the road in the event that “heaven forbid, a foreign animal disease,” hits. Crusan says, “If you have a relationship with a veterinarian and then bring the veterinarian in to look at it, the sooner we can learn about a disease that could impact a lot more than just a single animal and a single site, the sooner we can stop it. That’s coming full circle, as we want to involve the veterinarian early on in that process.”

About the Author(s)

Kevin Schulz

Editor, The Farmer

Kevin Schulz joined The Farmer as editor in January of 2023, after spending two years as senior staff writer for Dakota Farmer and Nebraska Farmer magazines. Prior to joining these two magazines, he spent six years in a similar capacity with National Hog Farmer. Prior to joining National Hog Farmer, Schulz spent a long career as the editor of The Land magazine, an agricultural-rural life publication based in Mankato, Minn.

During his tenure at The Land, the publication grew from covering 55 Minnesota counties to encompassing the entire state, as well as 30 counties in northern Iowa. Covering all facets of Minnesota and Iowa agriculture, Schulz was able to stay close to his roots as a southern Minnesota farm boy raised on a corn, soybean and hog finishing farm.

One particular area where he stayed close to his roots is working with the FFA organization.

Covering the FFA programs stayed near and dear to his heart, and he has been recognized for such coverage over the years. He has received the Minnesota FFA Communicator of the Year award, was honored with the Minnesota Honorary FFA Degree in 2014 and inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Schulz attended South Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural journalism. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and now belongs to its alumni organization.

His family continues to live on a southern Minnesota farm near where he grew up. He and his wife, Carol, have raised two daughters: Kristi, a 2014 University of Minnesota graduate who is married to Eric Van Otterloo and teaches at Mankato (Minn.) East High School, and Haley, a 2018 graduate of University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is married to John Peake and teaches in Hayward, Wis. 

When not covering the agriculture industry on behalf of The Farmer's readers, Schulz enjoys spending time traveling with family, making it a quest to reach all 50 states — 47 so far — and three countries. He also enjoys reading, music, photography, playing basketball, and enjoying nature and campfires with friends and family.

[email protected]

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like