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California Regulations

As of January 1, 2018, injectable and all other medically important antibiotics (MIADs) must be administered with a prescription that is ordered by a California licensed veterinarian within a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).

This means that all MIADs not mixed in feed, including those that are federally labeled for over-the-counter sale, will now require a prescription to be sold or used in California

Many antibiotics already require a veterinarian prescription (i.e. Zactran, Nuflor). But for those that currently do not (i.e. LA200, Penicillin) now require a veterinarian prescription.

Over the counter antibiotics will still be available at a licensed veterinary food-animal drug retailer with a prescription from a veterinarian. Prescriptions may only be dispensed by: the prescribing veterinarian, a veterinary food animal drug retailer (VFADR), or a licensed pharmacy.

This is in addition to current Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulating antibiotics delivered through feed legislation on the Federal level that took effect January 1, 2017.

Vaccines are not considered antibiotics and are still be available for purchase over-the-counter without a prescription.

How to Access Antibiotics for Livestock

Veterinary Prescriptions

If a veterinarian decides that the appropriate use of a medically important antibiotic is necessary to treat, control, or in some cases prevent disease: before dispensing the drug, the veterinarian must offer the client a written prescription that the client may choose to have filled by any licensed facility or with their veterinarian.

Current Options for Filling Prescriptions

  • Veterinary Food Animal Drug Retailer (VFADRs): Licensed by the California Board of Pharmacy, can fill prescriptions for pick-up or delivery. Your veterinarian may be able to suggest a VFADR, or you can look up licensed VFADRs here.

  • Licensed Pharmacies: Ask your local pharmacy if they will carry veterinary livestock drugs. Search for your local licensed pharmacy at here.

  • Licensed Online Pharmacies: Several veterinary internet pharmacies are registered with the California Board of Pharmacy to fill prescriptions in the State.Your Veterinarian: Veterinarians may dispense medically important antibiotics to their patients within a valid VCPR.

For questions, visit the CDFA webpage for more information and updates or email

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