Before summer pasture turnout, cattle should be treated to ensure vaccinations are up to date and fly or worm control is provided if necessary.  |  Robyn Wheat photo

Pre-turnout procedures can pay off in productivity

Whether it is grass yearlings or cow-calf pairs and breeding bulls, management procedures can and should be implemented before releasing cattle to pasture. The result is better health or increased performance this summer. We likely won’t get our hands on these cattle until fall so think into the future. Some have the luxury of herding […] Read more

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

There are fewer bison deaths than cattle deaths caused by clostridial diseases, but mature bison do get sick and die from it.  |  File photo

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


Working with newborn calves is a good time to look after necessary management procedures.  |  File photo

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

Not all cows need help giving birth, but when it’s required, the proper equipment is vital.  |  File photo

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


Guidelines on humane euthanasia also apply to beef producers. |  File photo

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 is a viable option on cattle with darker hides. | Getty photo

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

A close examination of an animal’s feet and legs is required to determine the correct treatment.  |  File photo

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

Becky Bezugley, who was a veterinary student at the University of Calgary in 2015 when this photo was taken but has since become a veterinarian, treats a umbilical abscess.  |  Roy Lewis photo

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