Antibodies generated by pregnant females are fully formed and 
functional when they enter the blood stream of the offspring and 
give passive protection against viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. | File photo

Maternal vaccines help protect neonates from disease

Maternal vaccines are given to pregnant females to protect their offspring from infectious diseases. Administering specific vaccines during late pregnancy harnesses the ancient evolutionary mechanism by which dams pass on antibodies to their neonates. Antibodies generated by pregnant females are fully formed and functional when they enter the blood stream of the offspring and give […] Read more

K’s Thomson of Lundbreck, Alta., rides Ambitious Bubbles in the saddle bronc event at this year’s Calgary Stampede. A three-year study found that horses’ behaviour in the chute isn’t connected to their performance in the ring. | Reuters/Todd Korol photo

Bucking horse research finds that handler behaviour matters

Over the years I’ve spent as a competitor and observer of rodeos, it seemed evident that the mature campaigner broncs were generally calm, loaded well into the chutes and stood for their equipment and rider, while the green stock were more likely to balk, head toss and kick. New research from the University of Calgary’s […] Read more

Horse industry takes steps to reduce racetrack injuries

Horse racing has come under increasing scrutiny because of animal welfare concerns related to severe injuries. It is gut-wrenching to witness a devastating breakdown injury during a race. These are those horrific injuries that occur on track that often result in euthanasia of the horse, typically from an untreatable broken bone, tendon or ligament injury. […] Read more


Veterinary pathologists are often tasked with conducting autopsies on abused animals. | Getty Images

Forensic science helps investigate animal abuse cases

Over the past few decades, there has been growing interest and expertise in applying the science of forensics to animal abuse investigations. Forensics are defined as the use of scientific methods and techniques in crime investigations. This interest has been driven by increased societal awareness of animal welfare issues. There is also growing recognition that […] Read more

The Canadian Animal Health Laboratorians Network includes people from a range of laboratory specialties including bacteriology, pathology, immunology, virology, parasitology, toxicology and molecular biology. | Screencap via cahln-rctlsa.com

Veterinary pathologist observes 50 years of changes

This June, animal health professionals gathered for the Canadian Animal Health Laboratorians Network meeting. Like many things in 2020, the in-person conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine hosted the meeting in a virtual format. The organization includes people from a range of laboratory specialties […] Read more


The virus spreads easily between animals, which allows it to rampage through rabbit populations. Most rabbits that become infected die. | Getty Images

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease identified in Alta.

Pet rabbits in southern Alberta have been diagnosed with rabbit hemorrhagic disease. A tiny virus, known as a calicivirus, causes this deadly rabbit disease. The virus spreads easily between animals, which allows it to rampage through rabbit populations. Most rabbits that become infected die. So far, the source of the virus in this outbreak remains […] Read more

A recent study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal by Dr. Brianne Henderson and colleagues at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College sought to better understand heart infections in horses.  | File photo

New Ontario study explores heart infections in horses

Infections that localize to the heart are rare but serious in any animal. A recent study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal by Dr. Brianne Henderson and colleagues at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College sought to better understand heart infections in horses. They focused specifically on infections of the heart valves, which is […] Read more

Colostrum is the first milk produced by lactating mammals and in our livestock species is critical for health, growth and longevity. | Getty Images

Colostrum — nature’s amazing first milk

With calving, lambing, foaling and kidding seasons upon us, something that may be top of mind for many producers is colostrum. It is the first milk produced by lactating mammals and in our livestock species is critical for health, growth and longevity. During gestation, the placental layers in ruminants and horses prevent antibodies from passing […] Read more


While the obvious cause of death or illness in a flock or herd may be apparent, it is good to ask, is that all that is going on? | File photo

Consider upstream factors when investigating disease

The other day, I presented a case of a deceased wolf to the veterinary students’ pathology rounds. This is a weekly event at the University of Calgary where veterinary pathologists take turns showing and discussing interesting cases to create a less formal learning experience for the students in the program. Like many things this year, […] Read more

Growing one’s own food during times of uncertainty is a way to exert control and it seems as though Canadians are eager to plant gardens and tend chickens as a way to achieve this. | Getty Images

Interest grows in raising small urban poultry flocks

An unexpected outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is the surge in interest in raising chickens. Growing one’s own food during times of uncertainty is a way to exert control and it seems as though Canadians are eager to plant gardens and tend chickens as a way to achieve this. Part of the interest in chickens […] Read more