A basic examination involves a detailed head-to-toe checkup, in which the vet looks at the eyes, ears, nose and mouth, skin, muscling, legs, hoofs, genitals and udder, listens to the heart, lungs and gut sounds and feels for pulses.  |  University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine photo

Pre-purchase examinations valuable when buying horses

After countless hours of scrolling through classified ads, you think you’ve found your next horse. Once an in-person meeting goes well, you may want to consider a pre-purchase exam before signing the cheque or sending an e-transfer. Many veterinarians offer pre-purchase examinations to check over a horse. The basic examination involves a detailed head-to-toe checkup. […] Read more

Health issues change when managing senior horses

As horses age, their health needs change. Horses are considered senior citizens after the age of 20 or so. Here is my list of top five health concerns for horses in the golden years of their lives. Immunity — Life-long exposure to various infections and vaccinations should create a highly tuned army of immune cells. […] Read more

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