Countering myths in the cattle industry

Over the years in large animal practice, I have experienced many misconceptions that circulate in the cattle industry. These old wives’ tales can result in wasted profits, overuse of drugs, false accusations or misguided work. If you hear of some industry myths when you’re working in the field, please bring them to my attention and […] Read more


Clostridial disease is fatal in bison, so prevention is vital

I have run across several clostridial (blackleg) outbreaks in bison over the years. I will use the term blackleg to refer to most of the clostridial diseases bison get, even though only one specific one causes the true blackleg. It is a spore-producing bacterium and the spores remain infective in the soil for more than […] Read more


Newborn calf procedures provide long-term payoff

If producers can prevent or significantly reduce diseases in newborn calves, they can decrease mortality and improve overall herd production. When producers are pairing up or moving the newborn and its mother, they will often get a chance to look after some necessary management. For most operations, that involves newborn calves three days old or […] Read more



Producers need extra equipment for calving season

A good mechanic requires specific tools for specific jobs, just as cattle producers need specialized equipment to help during calving. Producers should also practice with the equipment, keep it maintained, cleaned, disinfected and readily accessible. It could save a calf or make deliveries easier and less deleterious to the cow. Experienced cattle producers know the […] Read more


New bison code of practice good info for beef producers

Animal welfare is the underlying theme of Canada’s livestock codes of practice, and the recent bison update is no exception. It is a must read for bison producers and those contemplating getting into the business, but cattle producers would also benefit from reading it. The committee that developed the code comprised individuals involved in the […] Read more



Freeze branding: a veterinarian’s view

Years ago, I wrote an article on the negatives of hot-iron branding and got more letters to the editor than I have since. Please read this one and see if this makes sense to the cattle industry. More and more, especially in purebred herds, you see cows and bulls with freeze brands. These may be […] Read more


Diagnosing cattle lameness and choosing treatment

There are many different causes of lameness in both the cow-calf and finishing sectors of the cattle industry. Making the correct diagnosis or recognizing specific clinical entities will alter treatments that are given. Remember, lameness is the symptom caused by pain. We need to find the cause of that pain. Pain control may be justified […] Read more


Cattle processing, hide colour, temperature play role in FCS

A few years ago, cattle in an American feedlot went down during transport to a packing plant and others developed severe lameness. This condition was eventually labelled fatigue cattle syndrome and became a significant animal welfare issue because of the appearance of severely lame, non-ambulatory cattle. Beta agonists were initially blamed, but numerous studies have […] Read more



Determine cause of swelling to dictate treatment required

Cattle can become afflicted with large swellings both as individual animals or on a herd basis. Diagnosing, treatment and prevention are key factors producers and veterinarians must consider. Before proceeding, causes other than abscesses must be ruled out. Abscesses take time to develop so a sudden swelling may indicate another cause. When that happens, a […] Read more


The facts and fallacies of clostridial disease

In spite of good protection contained in vaccines for most clostridial diseases such as blackleg, tetanus and redwater, incidences are on the rise. Whether we raise cattle, sheep, goats or other livestock such as bison or elk, all are susceptible to various disease forms of the clostridial organism. As a quick review, clostridial organisms are […] Read more