As of December 1, 2018, livestock producers will need a veterinary prescription to access medically important antimicrobials.

Due to changes by Health Canada, these antimicrobials will no longer be sold at authorized medicine sales outlets (e.g. farm supply stores). Producers will only be able to access them through veterinary clinics, pharmacies or mixes in feed from commercial feed mills.

Requirements are changing for veterinarians as well. The new policy may cause little change in the daily operations of some farms, however, there could be growing pains as livestock producers, feed mills and veterinarians adapt. A key factor in ensuring a smooth transition is for producers to have a valid VCPR (veterinarian-client-patient relationship) with a licensed veterinarian.

After Dec 1, producers will not need to have an individual prescription for every bottle of antibiotic they buy and veterinarians will not have to administer all medications. Ensuring medications are on-hand when needed, however, means that producers need to work with their veterinarian to develop a VCPR, plan ahead and track their medication and prescription inventories. Together, producers and veterinarians can establish ahead of time what medications will likely be required during a given period of time (e.g. during foaling) The veterinarian can write a standing prescription to cover the anticipated amount of medication needed to cover the given time frame so that livestock producers can buy medications in advance and have them on hand, before they are needed.

More livestock antimicrobial resistance and use in Canada information can be found here.