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.
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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