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Livestock antibiotic medicines in bottles, boxes and pouches categorized and stocked on retail shelves at a local feed store.
The new FDA rule to be enforced on June 11 is a continuation of the Veterinary Feed Directive regarding use of antibiotics for livestock. (Photo by OSU Agriculture)

FDA rule requiring veterinary prescriptions takes effect in June

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Media Contact: Gail Ellis | Editorial Communications Coordinator | 405-744-9152 |

Beginning June 11, livestock owners must obtain a veterinarian’s prescription to purchase certain animal medications.

The new rule is a continuation of the Food and Drug Administration’s efforts to ensure the judicious use of medically important antimicrobials.

In 2017, the FDA implemented the original Veterinary Feed Directive rule, converting about 96% of the antibiotics used in animal medicine to veterinary feed direction drugs or prescription drugs. The FDA promotes judicious use of medically important antibiotics. Judicious use means the application of antibiotics only for the treatment, prevention and control of disease under the guidance of a veterinarian.

The latest guidelines enforce a prescription requirement for over-the-counter drugs such as injectable penicillin, tetracycline, sulfur drugs, oral medications like neomycin, and intramammary tubes like those used to treat mastitis.

“For a veterinarian to write a prescription, they have to have a proper veterinary client patient relationship, as defined by the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners,” said Barry Whitworth, Oklahoma State University Extension southeast area food and animal quality health specialist.

A veterinarian must have sufficient knowledge of an animal by examining it or knowing information about how the animal is cared for in a livestock operation.

“For livestock producers, now is the time — if you don’t have a relationship with a veterinarian — you need to get one,” Whitworth said.

He is advising animal owners to take inventory of the medications they currently administer and consult with their veterinarians on what is needed for continued use after June 11.

Whitworth discusses the upcoming changes to veterinary drug guidelines in a recent segment of SUNUP, OSU Agriculture’s production agriculture television show. Livestock owners can learn more about the list of medications that will soon require a prescription by contacting their local veterinarian’s office.

Watch SUNUP Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. on OETA.

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