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Over-the-Counter Antibiotics Require Veterinary Oversight (Rx)

As of June 2023, injectable, oral, intramammary, and topical forms of animal antibiotics require a prescription (Rx) from a licensed veterinarian.

In June of 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that all medically important antimicrobials will move from over-the-counter (OTC) to prescription (Rx) only as of June 2023. The Center for Veterinary Medicine guidance for industry #263 (GFI 263) outlines the process.

What species are included?

This applies to all companion and farm animal species.

When do these new changes become effective?

These changes became effective as of June of 2023.

What do this mean to you and your livestock operation?

All medically important antibiotics currently available at most feed or farm supply stores now require veterinary oversight (written Rx) to be used in animals, even if the animals are not intended for food production.

Examples of affected antibiotics include injectable penicillin and oxytetracycline.

In addition, some retail suppliers who were able to sell these drugs/products in the past may no longer sell them.

This means in order to continue using medically important antimicrobials, you need to establish a veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR). Consult your veterinarian for more information.

What is a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship?

veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients and is critical to the health of your animal(s). The practical explanation is that it is a formal relationship that you have with a veterinarian who serves as your primary contact for all veterinary services and is familiar with you, your livestock/animals, and your farm operation. This veterinarian is referred to as your Veterinarian of Record (VoR), and both the VoR and the client should sign a form to document this relationship.

Antibiotic Stewardship

Responsible stewardship practices include actions that preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics while maintaining animal health. This includes:

  • Only using antibiotics when necessary to manage illness in animals.
  • Establishing best management practices, like use of vaccines, and disease prevention plans to reduce the overall need for antibiotics.
  • Livestock owners and veterinarians working together to make decisions that improve animal health and welfare long-term.


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