Microscopic examination of gut tissues found foreign material that had a similar appearance to caterpillar parts. | Flickr.com/born1945 photo

Tent caterpillars possibly linked to rare heart condition in horses

A new study from the University of Saskatchewan has identified a possible link between forest tent caterpillars and deaths in several horses. The case series of four horses was published in the July 2020 issue of the Canadian Veterinary Journal. All four horses were presented to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s Large Animal Clinic […] Read more

Dogs are at highest risk in the fall, winter and spring when antifreeze is added and flushed from equipment for the cold seasons. | File photo

Dogs can be poisoned by common items found on farms

Common farm items can poison dogs, and to a lesser extent, cats. Cats tend to be more discriminant in their eating habits than dogs so are less often exposed. Antifreeze is one such farm item that can be particularly lethal to dogs that ingest it. The toxic ingredient in most types of antifreeze is ethylene […] Read more


Everyday items such as chocolate, grapes, onions and chewing gum can be toxic to dogs.  |  Jamie Rothenburger photo

Common household items can be dangerous for dogs

Everyday household items can be surprisingly toxic to dogs. And with their curious nature and indiscriminate eating habits, dogs have ample opportunity to eat the things they shouldn’t. Chocolate is one such toxin. Dogs are most often exposed during holiday seasons when chocolate is abundant in homes, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. Methylxanthines […] Read more

A veterinary ophthalmologist can be particularly useful in cases where eye diseases aren’t responding as expected to routine treatment.  | Jamie Rothenburger photo

Veterinary ophthalmologists focus on animal eye health

Eyes may be the window to the soul, but they are also prone to their own set of unique diseases and can be a key organ involved in severe systemic illness. While general practice veterinarians have training and experience with treating common eye diseases, sometimes specialists are needed for complex cases. Within the veterinary community, […] Read more


Cats should be kept indoors to reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19.   |  Jamie Rothenburger photo

Cats most likely animal to pick up novel coronavirus

A few months into the global COVID-19 pandemic there is growing knowledge about the relationship between the virus and animals. In a recent column, I discussed how wild bats were the likely origins of the virus and how future spill-over events may be prevented by ending the global wildlife trade. Virus origins aside, there have […] Read more

Ending wildlife trade key to preventing next pandemic

A series of unlikely things led to the current pandemic. Most probably, the SARS-CoV2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) lived among bats without causing them illness. These bats shed the virus (viruses are often shed intermittently by their hosts) while in contact with an intermediate host animal that was capable of being infected. It […] Read more

Assessing facial expressions to detect pain may improve animal welfare

New research has led to a practical pain assessment tool for cats. The so-called grimace scale uses facial features combined with head and ear position to determine the relative level of pain a particular cat is experiencing. Dr. Daniel Pang of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, with colleagues at the University of […] Read more


Wounds major cause of malignant edema

Many readers may be familiar with blackleg, the disease that affects cattle, sheep and goats in this part of the world. Caused by a resilient, spore-forming bacteria, blackleg can be prevented through vaccination. The clostridial group of bacteria can also cause significant illness in horses. The first, which I will discuss below, affects the muscles, […] Read more

Studies have found substantial positive outcomes of dog ownership among the homeless, including reduced drug use, avoiding arrests and companionship.  |  Getty Images

Disease detection just one way dogs are beneficial to humans

Dogs bring many benefits to our lives, several of which I explored in my previous column. On farms, dogs herd sheep and cattle and protect livestock from predators. Working dogs assist people with disabilities and improve public safety in police departments across Canada. Dogs also enhance society in less obvious roles. Disease detective dogs are […] Read more