Growing one’s own food during times of uncertainty is a way to exert control and it seems as though Canadians are eager to plant gardens and tend chickens as a way to achieve this. | Getty Images

Interest grows in raising small urban poultry flocks

An unexpected outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is the surge in interest in raising chickens. Growing one’s own food during times of uncertainty is a way to exert control and it seems as though Canadians are eager to plant gardens and tend chickens as a way to achieve this. Part of the interest in chickens […] Read more

Pathogens are wily foes. The viruses, bacteria and parasite pathogens that infect people and animals continually evolve. | Reuters photo

Mutated variants part of infectious pathogens’ evolution

One of the more concerning events during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the detection and emergence of virus variants. These variant strains have mutations that slightly alter their genetic code such that they are more readily transmissible, a worrying feature given the issues with control already occurring. Even more frightening, there is growing evidence that […] Read more

With legalization, it was feared, there would be more cannabis in homes as more people bought and partook, thus creating more opportunities for dogs to accidentally consume their owner’s stash.
 | Getty Images

Cannabis legalization did not increase dog poisonings

Cannabis became legal for recreational human use in October of 2018. At that time, there was much concern in the veterinary community about the impact of legalization on pet health. In particular, it was assumed that dogs may be at increased risk of cannabis intoxication. With legalization, it was feared, there would be more cannabis […] Read more


Alberta has successfully kept out the Norway rat for 70 years.  | Jamie Rothenburger photo

Alberta needs to stay vigilant with its rat control efforts

Alberta’s roughly 70-year experiment with rat eradication is the envy of the world. And what the province has achieved is a remarkable feat. Alberta has prevented the establishment of breeding rat colonies through a strong commitment to keeping these rodent pests out. The Norway rat, known by its scientific name as Rattus norvegicus, is a […] Read more

By now, we are all comfortable with some basic epidemiological and public health concepts such as the idea of asymptomatic carriers, infection control practices and the use of isolation to reduce infectious disease spread. There are many lessons here for animal health. | File photo

Animal-related public health issues may gain support

An enduring lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic will be that public health issues need stable support. We need to take the long view, even when not much is happening. By now, we are all comfortable with some basic epidemiological and public health concepts such as the idea of asymptomatic carriers, infection control practices and the […] Read more


Careful attention to feed and avoiding unnecessary grain supplementation is an important starting point when managing ponies’ diets.  | File photo

Managing weight in ponies critical for optimum health

It is tempting to classify ponies as small horses and treat them the same. They are the same species, Equus ferus caballus, but the smallest equines in our care have some unique characteristics that require particular attention for optimum health. Ponies are especially good at using their groceries to put on weight, making obesity a […] Read more

Globules of fat, shown in red, accumulate in the liver of a sick cow.  | Jamie Rothenburger photo

Fat tissue discovered to be major source of hormones

There is growing scientific interest in the role of fat tissue in health and disease. That’s important for animal health when you consider that obesity is a frequent and growing problem among pets and horses. Once dismissed as relatively unimportant tissue with limited function, fat is now having a moment. For most of modern medical […] Read more

A recently published study determined that 74 percent of horses with colic that originated in the large intestine survived compared to only 36 percent of horses with disease in the small intestine.  | File photo

New study explores factors linked to horses’ ability to survive colic

A great Canadian horse study has just been published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal. This retrospective study used medical records of horses from 2000 to 2015 that were admitted to the Atlantic Veterinary College Veterinary Teaching Hospital for colic. Colic is a general term used to describe pain in the abdomen and is a common […] Read more


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