The use of all drugs not licensed for use in deer is considered extra-label. Only a veterinarian can authorize extra-label use of drugs. It is illegal for deer producers to use either prescription drugs for unlabelled uses or over-the-counter drugs for extra-label purposes unless those drugs are prescribed or dispensed by a licensed veterinarian in the presence of a valid veterinarian/ client/patient relationship.
It is the veterinarian's responsibility to assign an appropriate withdrawal time for a drug when used in an extra-label manner.
Historically wildlife were not technically considered food animals and many rather had a "pre-harvest" interval of 30-45 days before hunting. However since the passing of the Minor Use and Minor Species Act of 2004 many of these species are now considered to be minor food animal species. If the wild animal has any possibility of being hunted or harvested for food by a human, this animal will then be classified as a minor food animal species and all stipulations put forth by AMDUCA regarding extra-label drug use will apply.
Extralabel drug use in Wildlife
AMDUCA allows FDA approved human and animal drugs to be used in an extra label manner under certain conditions. These conditions are the drug:
Many FDA approved drug are prescription and require veterinary supervision. Nonveterinarians can legally administer drugs if a valid-patient-client relationship has been established. Nonveterinarian may administer the drugs without a veterinarian physically present as long as they have direct contact with the veterinarian of record and the vet is involved in the planning process (drug dosing, drug administration methods, residue avoidance measures).
Some drugs used in wildlife are used for immobilization and are classified as controlled substances. Controlled substances are identified in 1 of 5 schedules established by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Regulations regarding controlled substances can be found in 21 CFR1301.75d and Controlled Substances Act.
Additionally, most biologist are able to obtain a DEA registration number and are able to procure drugs through veterinary product distributors. However, technically even though the can posses these drugs, they cannot use them on animals without veterinary supervision. This is because all prescription drugs must be used by, or on the order of, a licensed veterinarian. As long as a valid client-patient-relationship has been established, the veterinarian of record does not have to be on site while drugs are being used but they do have to be involved in the planning process, such as consulting on drug dosing and application of the drug. The biologist becomes the "client" and the wild animal becomes the "patient". This is particularly helpful for biologist working in remote areas.
Most states have a pharmacy board that have their own set of regulations that must be followed. Some of the regulations may be more restrictive then FDA and DEA. To find information regarding these regulations please contact your state pharmacy board.