West Nile virus risk high for horses

West Nile virus spread across the eastern United States and Canada after it was introduced in New York in 1999. It eventually hit the Canadian Prairies in 2002. It has now reached Mexico and the Caribbean and within the next decade, it will likely advance across South America as well. As it establishes in new […] Read more

The microscopic parasite Cryptosporidium attaches to the intestinal lining, causing damage and diarrhea.  |  University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine photo

Cryptosporidiosis is a common cause of scours in calves

The cold, snowy spring this year made for an especially challenging calving season. Many producers experienced sick calves and substantial loses. One of the culprits during this tough spring was a parasite called Cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidiosis is a common cause of diarrhea in young calves. This nasty parasite attaches to and damages the intestinal lining, causing […] Read more

Laboratory testing is done at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. As summer approaches, officials are on the lookout for whirling disease in fish.  |  University of Calgary photo

Deadly fish disease continues spread in Western Canada

With the summer lake season just around the corner, fish and game officials are on high alert for additional cases of the deadly whirling disease in fish. The disease is caused by a tiny parasite called Myxobolus cerebralis, a microscopic pathogen that attacks the cartilage of growing fish, causing damage and inflammation in the skull […] Read more

Laboratory tests confirm deadly rabbit disease in Canada

There is an ongoing outbreak of rabbit hemorrhagic disease in British Columbia. Starting in March, dead rabbits were discovered in Nanaimo and surrounding areas on Vancouver Island and the Delta region of the Lower Mainland. This deadly disease is caused by a tiny virus known as a calicivirus. It is very infectious and can spread […] Read more

Veterinarian Dr. Ashley Whitehead examines a neonatal foal.  | University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine photo

Many factors can cause pregnancy loss in mares

After months of careful planning and anticipation, the loss of a mare’s pregnancy can be devastating. Any number of things can cause fetal death in mares and it is worth knowing why in case preventive measures are available for future breedings. For starters, mares have to be healthy and well-nourished to carry a pregnancy to […] Read more

In livestock settings, quarantine means no shared fence lines and avoiding nose-to-nose contact.  |  File photo

Quarantine: traditional disease control still one of the best

Four giant pandas recently journeyed from Toronto to Calgary to join the Calgary Zoo collection. But these bamboo-eating bears will be restricted from public visits until May. During this period, the pandas will get acquainted with their new surroundings and caretakers. It also functions as a type of quarantine to allow caretakers and veterinary staff […] Read more

Tumours in donkeys differ from those found in horses

Donkeys are not small horses. These long-eared equids have their own unique biology, which includes differing health conditions. One key way donkeys differ from horses is the types of tumours they develop. These differences were highlighted by a 2016 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation by Dr. Corrine Davis and colleagues. The […] Read more

Hole-riddled bone shows the animal suffered from lumpy jaw.  |  File photo

Painful lumpy jaw disease requires intervention

As the name implies, cattle infected with the condition known as lumpy jaw develop hard lumps along the jaw, or rarely, other facial bones. The disease is a severe, deep bone infection that typically starts when there is damage to the gums. Infection establishes in the tooth socket and spreads from there to invade deep […] Read more

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

Knowing why animals die allows for choices about how to keep those that are living productive and healthy.  |  File photo

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