Establishing a Valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR)

vet and farmer

If you have a good relationship with your veterinarian, he or she will be able to help, advise, and guide you to use appropriate medications for your animals. By establishing this relationship, the veterinarian also gains a working knowledge of your management practices. Therefore, your veterinarian can help you make medical judgments, assist you with withdrawal times, your recordkeeping system, and can provide “extra label” drug use when deemed necessary under special circumstances.

An appropriate veterinarian/client/patient relationship will exist when: 

1.     The producer (client) may make a diagnosis. The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the animals and the need for medical treatment, and the client (owner or other caretaker) has agreed to follow the instructions of the veterinarian; 

2.     There is sufficient knowledge of the animal by the veterinarian to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animals(s).  This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animals by virtue of an examination of the animals and/or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animals are kept; and when

3.     The practicing veterinarian is readily available for follow-up in case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.

A valid VCPR:

·       Is mandatory if drugs are to be used in an “extra-label” manner on your farm. You need the benefit of a valid VCPR to make sure you are following the veterinarian’s instructions properly.  

·       Emphasizes the word “valid.”  Much of this responsibility is on your veterinarian.  He or she must visit your facilities routinely to see and be personally acquainted with your animal care. Consult your veterinary clinic for specific requirements.

·       Is a commitment on your veterinarian’s part. It is important that the veterinarian is available to follow up in cases of adverse reactions or failures of the regimen therapy. 

The NY BQA Program involves maintaining a relationship with an accredited, licensed veterinarian for all Level II Certified Producers. This “third-party verification” is becoming increasingly important to customers purchasing feeder cattle as well as packers purchasing animals for harvest and consumer safety.

The VCPR is the cornerstone of a management plan which permits the use of prescription and extra-label drug use in animals. It is mandatory for feed and water delivered, medically important antibiotics, such as AS-700® and Aureomycin® Crumbles. It ensures use of a scientific process along with professional judgment in deciding if and how to use these drugs. By understanding the importance of the VCPR, using drugs responsibly and following BQA guidelines, all beef producers can do their part in maintaining consumer confidence in a safe, wholesome and quality beef product.