Changes in drug regulations and emphasis on proper drug use in food animals makes VCPRs critical between veterinarians and producers.
THE American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) is offering its members and other beef and dairy veterinarians newly created guidelines for effective veterinary-client-patient relationships (VCPR).
The two-page guidelines, "Establishing & Maintaining the Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship in Bovine Practice," are meant to assist veterinarians in developing more comprehensive relationships with their cattle-producing clients, AABP said.
Dr. Keith Sterner of Sterner Veterinary Clinic PC in Ionia, Mich., chaired the AABP VCPR Task Force that created the guidelines.
"As regulatory and consumer concerns over drug use in cattle make the news, more direct veterinary involvement with the dairy farm, ranch or feedlot is needed," Sterner said. "AABP convened a task force to help better spell out just what constituted a VCPR. The VCPR is the very foundation ... all parties concerned can use to be assured of responsible production practices being employed on farming operations."
AABP said the six principles underpinning the AABP VCPR guidelines are:
1. Maintain written agreements for working relationships;
2. Have a veterinarian of record;
3. Clarify any and all relationships with consultants and other veterinarians;
4. Provide written protocols;
5. Ensure that written or electronic treatment records are maintained, and
6. Provide drugs or prescriptions for specific time frames and for specific protocols.
The VCPR is a mechanism that, when put in place and adhered to by all parties, promotes responsible drug use and ensures that protocols are in place and regularly reviewed on the livestock operation.
"The VCPR guidelines are a measured and carefully reasoned mechanism that veterinarians can use to assure that lines of communication and records are in place between them and their clients for responsible drug use," Sterner said.
"At the same time, these guidelines will help assure the public that there are excellent, responsible and documented procedures being employed on farming operations," he added. "This will help to ensure a positive image for both the dairy and beef industries as well as the veterinary profession."
AABP president Dan Grooms of Michigan State University noted that the association "is in the process of developing additional science-based cattle well-being guidelines for our members and the cattle industry as a whole. As cattle veterinarians, it is important that we develop, follow and promote guidelines that help ensure the well-being of the cattle whose health and welfare are entrusted to us."
The VCPR guidelines are available online at http://aabp.org/resources/AABP_Guidelines/VCPRGuidelineFinal11-2013.pdf.