Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) | en Espańol

The veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients and is critical to the health of an animal. Any Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) Order must be issued by a licensed veterinarian within a valid VCPR.

The Five Basic Elements of a VCPR (see 21 CFR §530.3(i)):

  1. The veterinarian assumes the responsibility for the animal's health
  2. The client (owner) agrees to comply with the veterinarian's instructions
  3. The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to make a general diagnosis
  4. The veterinarian assumes responsibility for follow-up care, including adverse reactions and/or treatment failures
  5. The veterinarian maintains patient records


Federal regulations (21 CFR §558.6 (b)(1)) require that a VFD is issued in compliance with the VCPR as defined by the State. For states that do not define key elements of a valid VCPR, the VFD must be issued in compliance with elements of the federally-defined VCPR (21 CFR §530.3(i)). The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine maintains a list of states that require a state-defined or federally-defined VCPR in order to issue a VFD.

View the AVMA’s definition of the VCPR.