Case of the eyeless squirrel provides insight into natural world

It is a rare day when I diagnose an animal with missing parts at autopsy. In the fall of 2015, a concerned citizen found a young, female blind squirrel foraging on windfall apples near Windsor, Ont., and sent it to a wildlife rehabilitation centre. With no hope of long-term survival in the wild, the blind […] Read more

Examining dead stock for causes of death is valuable

The diesel engine snarled to life and I headed out of town. Reaching the feedlot, I rumbled past rows of feed bunks with various sized steers and heifers, placidly chewing their cuds or rummaging for grain in what would be their final home before entering the plant that would turn their flesh into beef. An […] Read more

Research finds flies carry bacteria — some harmful to people and animals

They come every summer without fail, but flies are more than an aesthetic problem. Animals stamp, swish and shake to rid themselves of these pesky insects. In addition to restlessness, painful fly bites and irritation cause livestock to lose condition. Other effects of fly infestations include poor feed conversion rates, lower milk production and skin […] Read more

Circadian rhythm research applies to livestock health

This year’s Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three researchers who studied the internal biological clock that regulates day and night cycles in sync with the Earth’s rotation. Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young were jointly awarded the prize for their discovery of molecular mechanisms controlling this circadian rhythm. […] Read more

Co-infections have major influence on infectious diseases

Animals are infected by more than one infectious agent at a time in natural settings. Thus, co-infections are the norm rather than the exception. However, since the scientific revolution that tied microscopic infections to disease — the “germ-theory” of disease — most re-searchers have focused on one pathogen infection at time. This was a reasonable […] Read more

Lungworm issues can be difficult to diagnose

Parasites that live in animals’ digestive tracts are the most frequent and arguably the most important parasites to infect animals. However, parasites can occupy a variety of organs in the body, including the skin, brain and kidney. A lesser-known class of parasites are those that reside in the lungs and windpipe. These lungworms affect a […] Read more

Plastic in ecosystem harms wildlife, environment

A vast, heaving mat of plastic bobs on the waves in a bend of the Grijalva River within the Sudidero Canyon of Chiapas, Mexico. The one kilometre towering cliffs, diverse wildlife and thick rainforests of Mexico’s Grand Canyon are just as striking as the plastic bottles and other debris choking the waterway. This is one […] Read more

Canker: a rare hoof condition requiring early treatment

Hoof canker is an unusual condition in horses. The rare disease results from abnormal growth of the outer horn layer of the hoof It typically originates in the frog, the bottom portion of the hoof toward the heel. In severe cases, canker can spread to the adjacent sole, hoof wall and bars. Horses with canker […] Read more

Emerging fungal diseases threaten wildlife

It isn’t often we focus on fungal diseases; usually viruses and bacteria occupy our attention when it comes to infectious diseases. But fungal infections are on the rise. Particularly in wild animals, fungi are a major cause of newly recognized infectious diseases. White nose syndrome, a fungal infection of hibernating bats, is demolishing populations in […] Read more

Keep horses healthy and safe during summer travel season

With spring underway, equine events are beginning to pop up on calendars across the country. Whether you travel with your horse for a local trail ride or head to a big competition, there are health and safety considerations to take into account before leaving home. Whenever horses gather together from different properties, a risk of […] Read more