Radio frequency identification tags should be located one-quarter of the way out from the head and in the middle so that the male back end is behind the ear and the thick radio frequency part is in the inside of the ear.  |  Roy Lewis photo

Improvements have been made in ear tag retention

The national cattle identification system has been around for slightly less than 20 years. Developers have gone through lots of growing pains and are starting to fine-tune the system. Producers are deriving more benefits from using the farm management systems linked to readers and scales, which are based on the ability to read the RFID […] Read more

A lot of work has gone into the new transportation regulations.
 | File photo

Livestock transportation has seen major improvements

A lot of work has gone into the new transportation regulations. For cattle and bison, previous regulations were working well. Long trailer hauls to packing plants or feedlots in Canada and the United States recorded a success rates of more than 99.9 percent. It’s possible to improve, but a lot of the culture around loading […] Read more

Making improvements to chutes and corrals is one of the ways that cattle producers can make their operations more efficient and economical.  |  File photo

Ways to save time and labour in cow-calf operations

Time and labour are often in short supply at cow-calf operations, but there are ways producers can save both, while also saving a bit of money. Drones should be used on most larger operations for checking cattle, checking fences, checking watering troughs, finding lost cattle and identifying sick ones. Drones are quick and the images […] Read more


Multiple small areas of pus and dead tissue in this lymph node, located near the intestines, is typical of caseous lymphadenitis in sheep and goats. | Jamie Rothenburger photo

Caseous lymphadenitis causes big losses in sheep, goats

One of the most important infectious diseases of sheep and goats is caseous lymphadenitis (also called cheesy gland), a disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. As far as bacteria go, it is a tough, nasty pathogen. Infected individuals are not able to clear the bacteria from their system, leading to chronic infections. The bacteria […] Read more

Producers and veterinarians may need to change how they routinely treat cattle for lice.  |  Jeannette Greaves photo

Lice increase in prevalence across Western Canada

For the second winter in a row pharmaceutical companies are hearing lots of complaints about scratching cattle and hair loss. This means that producers and veterinarians may need to change how they routinely treat for lice. First, a positive diagnosis is important. We may handle biting lice, sucking lice and chorioptic mange differently and many […] Read more


Nervous cows are less likely to reinitiate uterine contractions.  |  File photo

Lack of contractions in calving cows has various causes

There have been several instances during my career when an unexplained delay in calving has resulted in stillborn or weak calves because the calving process was too long. I would guess that most producers have run into this problem at one time or another. Although not much research has been done on the subject and […] Read more

Ulcers develop when the thin stomach lining is lost, leaving the underlying stomach wall exposed.  |  University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine photo

Stomach ulcers are major ailment in performance horses

Horses are susceptible to stomach ulcers, especially if they work hard in performance activities such as racing, jumping and showing. An ulcer develops when the thin stomach lining is lost, leaving the underlying stomach wall exposed. The lost layer normally protects the delicate underlayers from stomach acid and abrasive food items such as coarse grasses. […] Read more

Udder edema is particularly prevalent in dairy cows.  | File photo

Knowing when to treat is crucial when udder edema cases appear

Producers sometimes have trouble recognizing udder edema. It is fluid accumulation within the udder and teats and ahead of the udder as bred cattle (primarily heifers) get close to giving birth. The fluid entrapment can lead to an uncomfortable condition and has the potential to cause mastitis. It could also impair long-term milk production. Udder […] Read more


Producers need to take steps to ensure their cattle have adequate traction in the chute when processing and loading them. |  File photo

Finding ways to improve cattle’s footing pays dividends

Many feedlot audits in Canada and the United States look at slips, trips or falls of cattle, especially when loading or processing, and record the percentage for good reason. There are specific areas where footing can be improved or altered. As well, new methods can be used to improve animal welfare and decrease injuries. Producers […] Read more

Producers must consider if vaccines are missing every time they process cattle.  |  File photo

Lapses in vaccination programs can have consequences

Veterinarians and producers must be constantly reviewing vaccination protocols to check for lapses in booster shot administration, missed antigens in vaccines and new or emerging diseases for which vaccines are available. Cattle that are transported into areas where other diseases are more prevalent have often been the cause of outbreaks to such things as redwater […] Read more