Veterinary Feed Directive Guidance for Minor Species
December 16, 2016

On Jan. 1, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration's new Veterinary Feed Directive regulations for animals will become effective. While a good deal of information has been published about the changes regarding the use of antimicrobials in feed and water for major species (cattle, horses, swine, chickens, turkeys, dogs and cats), there has been little information about how the FDA will regulate VFD drugs in minor species, such as sheep.

Since there are relatively few products approved to treat and prevent diseases in minor species, FDA has historically provided guidelines to veterinarians and others on how to use products on minor species that are approved for other animals in a safe and effective manner. The guidelines, called Compliance Policy Guides, are also non-binding recommendations to FDA's field enforcement personnel on how they should regulate VFD products.

FDA recently published a new CPG for minor species (updated from an April 2001 CPG) that will be used beginning January 1. While the law and regulations must be followed by everyone (producers, veterinarians, licenses feed mills and feed distributors), the new CPG does provide options for treating and preventing disease conditions in minor species, including sheep, in addition to using only specific labeled products. The CPG is available at

Officials from FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine will provide presentations at the American Sheep Industry Association's January convention in Denver where they will explain the specifics of how the regulations will apply to all sheep industry sectors from a practical perspective.