Informed veterinary medicine requires support for science

Evidence-informed (also referred to as evidence-based) veterinary medicine is the concept of applying scientific evidence to the treatment of animals in our care. The concept was borrowed from human medicine in the early 2000s and has since generated considerable discussion, as well as inclusion in the curriculum of many veterinary schools. The idea of using […] Read more

In horses, diet has been also implicated as a contributing factor. Young horses fed high carbohydrate diets and diets that are deficient in certain minerals seem to have higher rates of this disease.
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Osteochondrosis big cause of lameness in young animals

Osteochondrosis is a disease that affects the joints of young horses, pigs and dogs. In a normal, healthy joint, a thick layer of cartilage lines the joint surface, allowing smooth movement for the ends of bones to glide past each another. A thick layer of bone is normally located immediately below this joint cartilage. The […] Read more

The lungs of this horse are collapsed and red, indicating severe pneumonia (arrows) and a failure of the respiratory defenses.  |  Jamie Rothenburger photo

Lung defences needed for respiratory disease prevention

The respiratory system in animals serves a vital function — without the ability to breath, animals will succumb within minutes. Clean air with oxygen is breathed in through the nostrils and transported down the trachea and through the tree-like branches, where it enters the lungs. Here, oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide, refreshing the blood […] Read more


Final year veterinary students examine beehives as part of a national ecosystem health rotation.  |  Aron Nichols photo

Vet students learn about ecosystem influences on health

Veterinary students spend most of their final year in veterinary programs refining and practicing clinical skills. For cattle, this might entail working on pregnancy checking, perfecting bull testing, designing herd health programs and optimizing parasite control. In a variety of species, vet students practice surgical and anesthesia skills. But each year, a small group of […] Read more

Head shakers, as they are known, repetitively nod their heads as if saying yes. It looks similar to how a horse might react to a fly up the nose. Shaking can also be accompanied by face rubbing, snorting, sneezing, appearing anxious and striking at the head with the front legs.
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Head shaking in horses remains a treatment challenge for owners

Horses will occasionally give their head a shake for normal reasons. A flick of the neck can dislodge flies. The occasional shake can indicate discomfort from bits and other tack. A head and neck roll may be a body language expression to other horses. But a small number of horses experience shaking to a pathological […] Read more


Copper deficiency common in Western Canadian cattle

If you’ve ever seen black cows with a tinge of red hair, you may have witnessed a case of copper deficiency. This trace mineral is deficient in the diets of many cattle in Western Canada and is a fairly common condition. As a trace mineral, copper is important for a variety of essential functions in […] Read more

Cribbing in horses is considered challenging behaviour for owners

Cribbing is one of the most common vices horses can have. Also known as crib-biting, it is frequent, repetitive action that animals engage in with no apparent function. When a horse cribs, it grasps a flat surface with its front incisor teeth, arches its neck and gulps air, creating a grunt. The cause is unknown, […] Read more

Animals get their vitamin E from their diets, which for livestock means access to lush, rich grass and fresh hay.  |  File photo

Vitamin E deficiency common in prairie livestock

Throughout the body, vitamins serve crucial functions to maintain cells in a state of health. Perhaps unimaginatively named for the letters of the alphabet, the vitamins are A, B, C, D and E. Vitamin K breaks the order but is no less important. A recent conversation with a fellow veterinarian led me to review the […] Read more


Horses can develop infections in the lungs, also known as pneumonia, which can compromise their athletic ability and may even be life threatening. | File photo

Pneumonia in horses can compromise athletic ability

Through evolution, horses have developed a tremendous capacity for running at sustained, high speeds. To meet these athletic demands, horses have remarkably large lungs and heart. Those organs must be healthy. With each heartbeat, blood courses through the lungs, exhausting carbon dioxide and refreshing its oxygen load before travelling around the blood vessels to oxygenate […] Read more

Connections explored between brains and sleep

As a veterinary pathologist, I hold the brains of animals in my hands almost every week. A cat brain fits comfortably in the palm of my hand, while the brain of a 1,000 pound feedlot steer needs a two-handed grip. Removing a brain involves opening the skull and then carefully severing the 12 pairs of […] Read more