Pain control during castration considered the right thing to do

Castration is one of the most common painful animal management procedures we do in the beef industry. As of Jan. 1, the industry’s revised code of practice for care and handling of beef cattle has a new requirement that stipulates pain control is necessary, in consultation with a veterinarian, when castrating bulls older than six […] Read more

Clostridial vaccines prevent more than blackleg

Clostridial vaccines are the most widely used vaccines in the beef industry. Almost all producers use them in their young calves, usually beginning at two to three months of age, primarily to prevent the disease blackleg. Blackleg is caused by Clostridium chauvoei bacteria and causes muscle infections that can result in sudden death in young […] Read more

Timing, type of BVD, IBR vaccines must be handled with care

A standard recommendation for all cow-calf herds in North America is to vaccinate with a viral vaccine that provides immunity to two important reproductive diseases: infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and bovine viral diarrhea virus. These two diseases have potential to cause serious reproductive losses due to abortions, if they infect the unprotected pregnant cow. In addition, […] Read more

Q-fever is particularly hard on sheep and goats

Our disease investigation unit at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan is helping a veterinarian investigate a serious outbreak of abortions in a goat herd. These investigations are funded by the Saskatchewan agriculture ministry and are always carried out in co-ordination with the local veterinarian. Abortion outbreaks are often devastating […] Read more

Timing is everything when it comes to vaccine use

Cow-calf producers and veterinarians are often focused on which vaccines to use as part of their herd health program. However, the timing of those vaccines may be a critical decision as well. Several factors can play a role in the decisions surrounding when a particular vaccine should be administered. The age of the animal can […] Read more

Numbers matter: you can’t manage what you don’t measure

Most producers would rather be out working with their cattle than doing paperwork. As a result, the act of collecting, maintaining and using records often takes a back seat to other efforts around the ranch. However, I believe that on some herds, the limitations of herd records is a major obstacle to making genetic advances […] Read more

Failure with antimicrobial drugs: does it mean resistance?

When there is no improvement in the animal’s condition after giving it antibiotic therapy, what next? Often it involves weaned calves being treated for respiratory disease, but it could also be a sick cow or baby calf as well. There are several reasons why antibiotic treatments might fail. One of the most common is because […] Read more

Changing bacterial populations evident in recent study

A recent article published in the journal Veterinary Microbiology sheds light on the antimicrobial resistance carried by bacteria that cause respiratory disease in western Canadian feedlot cattle. The research was carried out at four commercial feedlots in southern Alberta by Dr. Edouard Timsit and colleagues at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and […] Read more

BVD virus can cause congenital brain condition

The other day one of my veterinary students showed me a video on his smartphone of a calf from his father’s ranch. The calf was walking with a very unusual gait in which its movements seemed somewhat exaggerated. All four limbs were affected and the calf seemed to sway while walking. I couldn’t give any […] Read more

Herd nutrition requires extra attention following drought

A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Animal Science sheds light on the question of how this year’s drought might affect next year’s calf crop. Dr. Cheryl Waldner and Dr. Fabienne Uehlinger from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan described a study where blood samples were collected from […] Read more