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

Ernie, a member of the St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog team in Saskatoon, regularly visits patients and staff at the Royal University Hospital’s emergency room in that city.   |  Teri Rothenburger photo

Dogs can play an important role in keeping humans healthy

Modern science is finally catching up to what dog lovers have known for thousands of years — that dogs are good for people. From understanding disease to helping us live healthier lives, the following are a few examples of how dogs benefit people. Since dogs share our environment, they are exposed to similar water, air […] Read more

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.
 | File photo

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