Developing a Herd Health Program

Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist

There are Key Practices to Develop a herd health plan that conforms to good veterinary and husbandry practices:

  • Provide disease prevention practices to protect herd health including access to veterinary medical care.
  • Follow all FDA/USDA/EPA guidelines and label directions for each product.
  • Use FDA-approved feed additives including those requiring a veterinary feed directive (VFD) in accordance with label requirements.

The FDA requires all VFD records to be retained for two years and available upon FDA request for inspection. Keep extra-label drug use (ELDU) to a minimum and only when prescribed by a veterinarian working under a Veterinary/Client/Patient Relationship (VCPR). Properly administer products labeled for subcutaneous (SQ) administration in the neck region.

When available, use products approved for SQ, intravenous (IV), intranasal (IN) or oral administration rather than products administered intramuscular (IM) as all products can cause tissue damage when administered IM. Always ensure products labeled for IV-only are never be given by any other route of administration because of the potential for causing violative residues at the injection site. Use, when available, injectable products with low dosage volumes and follow the proper spacing of injections. Administer products labeled for (IM) in the neck region only — no exceptions, regardless of age. Do not administer more than 10cc of product per IM injection site. Use the proper needle size for injections and never reuse a bent needle.

This information was derived from the National Beef Quality Assurance Manual located at (