Producers who have sick pigs and do not have a veterinary feed directive (VFD) in place at their facility will not necessarily need to wait to obtain a VFD in order to get the pigs their needed treatment, provided they have a recognized veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).

Dr. Sam Holst, veterinarian and swine consultant with the Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, Minnesota, said a commonly asked question concerning the VFD rule that will take effect on January 1, 2017, is will pig producers be able to treat their animals before a VFD is in place.


Holst, speaking on June 8 at the World Pork Expo, said as long as a VCPR has been established, the pigs can still get their needed medications, but rather than getting them in the form of medicated feed, it would need to be in the form of medicated water.

“If we have the requirements for a VCPR in place, there should be no delay in getting the water medication in place. With water medications, in the event of an emergency with sick pigs, we can use those applications to get pigs treated,” he said. The producer should then talk further with his or her veterinarian, talk the situation through, and develop a treatment plan for further or continued illnesses. That treatment plan can either be through a VFD, through continued use of medicated water, or by other means advised by the veterinarian.