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

Clostridial vaccines are almost 100 percent effective, but a booster shot is essential.  |  File photo

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


Hutches come in a variety of sizes, providing calves with a dry, warm environment.
|  File photo

Calf hutches, creep areas help prevent disease

Many producers use calf hutches during calving season and for very good reason. They are especially important if calving early in inclement weather. As well, the increasing size of our herds means young calves need to get away from the crowded stress. Even producers who calve their herds in the summer will find it beneficial […] Read more

Video cameras, drones improve monitoring cattle health

Cattle monitoring technology is making great advancements with high resolution video and drones. I’ve been able to observe the use of advanced cameras in the last year at two operations I deal with during the calving season. I have also witnessed demonstrations and heard a few presentations on drones for checking and monitoring cattle. Video […] Read more


Ways to improve breeding efficiency, save money

There are many ways producers can improve breeding efficiencies and lower their costs. Sharing bulls with like-minded producers is one cost-saving option. Another is using synchronization programs with artificial insemination. Dairy producers already use sexed semen, which may become more available in the beef industry down the road. In the past dairy operators needed to […] Read more

When in doubt, producers are advised to give calves oral electrolytes to stop diarrhea.  |  File photo

Learn to identify symptom of scours for early electrolyte treatment

Electrolytes are our best bet when treating scours be-cause it is the dehydration and/or acidosis that kills calves first. It’s important for producers who use this important tool to recognize the severity of the scours, either by how dehydrated or how acidotic (depressed) the calf is. Calves are dehydrated if skin that is twisted in […] Read more

Swelling that extends along a horse’s belly and back legs is one symptom of a mammary tumour. |  File photo

Include udder exam in checkup to detect tumours

Horses can develop cancer in their udders, which are their mammary glands. It is a rare occurrence, with less than 20 cases reported in the scientific literature. However, udder tumours in mares are serious. Most occur in middle-aged or older mares that are 12 to 25 years old. There aren’t enough cases to identify other […] Read more


If using the rubber banding method of castration it is important to recheck the calf later to determine if a testicle has not descended.  |  File photo

Skill, painkillers, vaccine all part of successful castration

We now have many tools at our disposal when it comes to castrating calves. The skillful use of newer techniques and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID) address welfare issues. Much has changed in the feedlot industry. For starters, feedlots no longer dehorn cattle. A few may be tipped and the polled bulls look after the rest. As […] Read more

Understanding nuances of branded beef programs

With all the terms in the beef industry such as organic, natural, hormone free, sustainable, producers are bound to be confused, even those trying to raise cattle to fit into these programs. Most branded or niche programs are trying to differentiate themselves from the traditional ways of producing beef. If you are interested, get the […] Read more