Countering myths in the cattle industry

Over the years in large animal practice, I have experienced many misconceptions that circulate in the cattle industry. These old wives’ tales can result in wasted profits, overuse of drugs, false accusations or misguided work. If you hear of some industry myths when you’re working in the field, please bring them to my attention and […] Read more


Clostridial disease is fatal in bison, so prevention is vital

I have run across several clostridial (blackleg) outbreaks in bison over the years. I will use the term blackleg to refer to most of the clostridial diseases bison get, even though only one specific one causes the true blackleg. It is a spore-producing bacterium and the spores remain infective in the soil for more than […] Read more


Newborn calf procedures provide long-term payoff

If producers can prevent or significantly reduce diseases in newborn calves, they can decrease mortality and improve overall herd production. When producers are pairing up or moving the newborn and its mother, they will often get a chance to look after some necessary management. For most operations, that involves newborn calves three days old or […] Read more



Producers need extra equipment for calving season

A good mechanic requires specific tools for specific jobs, just as cattle producers need specialized equipment to help during calving. Producers should also practice with the equipment, keep it maintained, cleaned, disinfected and readily accessible. It could save a calf or make deliveries easier and less deleterious to the cow. Experienced cattle producers know the […] Read more


NSAIDs alleviate pain at calving, during processing

As veterinarians use more and more NSAIDs to manage pain in livestock, one major area to focus on is the pain of the calf and the cow at calving. Producers should develop a plan with their vets as to where and when to use these products when it comes to calving this spring. NSAID, or […] Read more



Proper needle and syringe selection saves time, reduces pain

Proper use of syringes and needles is second nature in today’s cattle production for treating, vaccinating, flushing, aspirating or applying local anesthetic. We don’t want to leave needles in animals, just as we don’t want to cause more pain than necessary by using improper needles. There is latitude when selecting equipment but certain principles make […] Read more


New bison code of practice good info for beef producers

Animal welfare is the underlying theme of Canada’s livestock codes of practice, and the recent bison update is no exception. It is a must read for bison producers and those contemplating getting into the business, but cattle producers would also benefit from reading it. The committee that developed the code comprised individuals involved in the […] Read more


Freeze branding: a veterinarian’s view

Years ago, I wrote an article on the negatives of hot-iron branding and got more letters to the editor than I have since. Please read this one and see if this makes sense to the cattle industry. More and more, especially in purebred herds, you see cows and bulls with freeze brands. These may be […] Read more



Diagnosing cattle lameness and choosing treatment

There are many different causes of lameness in both the cow-calf and finishing sectors of the cattle industry. Making the correct diagnosis or recognizing specific clinical entities will alter treatments that are given. Remember, lameness is the symptom caused by pain. We need to find the cause of that pain. Pain control may be justified […] Read more


Cattle processing, hide colour, temperature play role in FCS

A few years ago, cattle in an American feedlot went down during transport to a packing plant and others developed severe lameness. This condition was eventually labelled fatigue cattle syndrome and became a significant animal welfare issue because of the appearance of severely lame, non-ambulatory cattle. Beta agonists were initially blamed, but numerous studies have […] Read more