Sickness is generally the result of stressors leading to a weakened immune system. It varies year to year. | File photo

Reducing sickness in calves about more than vaccines

Veterinarians, nutritionists and those representing the pharmaceutical industry hear lots of queries and complaints that their ranch-raised calves, though vaccinated, still get sick. Why is that? One must really look at the whole process involved in raising a calf — the gathering, processing, weaning, feeding, watering and transportation — and reduce stress as much as […] Read more

With the arrival of summer when animals become more exposed to ultraviolet light, cases of photosensitization can occur.
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Sunburn can cause significant problems for livestock

With the arrival of summer when animals become more exposed to ultraviolet light, cases of photosensitization can occur. In ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats), many causes can be caused by ingestion of certain plant species. As well, infectious causes such as liver flukes or leptospirosis can spark cases. The bottom line is that liver damage […] Read more

Bison are usually only processed once a year so remote methods are needed to treat them. Dewormers can be added in feed, minerals or water, and antimicrobials can be added into minerals or, in last resort cases, given by a dart gun.  |  File photo

Bison health concerns have pretty short list

Lots of comparisons can be made between raising bison and cattle. Some things are easier, some things are harder. But every year, I hear of new issues in the bison herds, involving animal deaths, loss of productivity or reproductive failures. One very good thing about the bison industry is it is a close-knit group of […] Read more


Pour-on endectocides were previously about 100 percent effective on internal parasites but recent evidence indicates this has fallen to about 50 percent.  |  File photo

Parasite prevention vital as dewormer efficiency fades

In the past, most pour-on products were primarily targeted at lice but for about the past eight years, the efficacy of pour-on dewormers on internal parasites has diminished. This means that after a fall treatment, the internal parasites emerge in spring, excreting lots of worm eggs. This then carries onto the pasture season and pastures […] Read more

Traditional brandings, where large groups gather and calves are processed fast, will need to be scaled down considerably during the pandemic. This branding day took place May 14 at the Spring Hill Cattle Co. near Nanton, Alta.  | Mike Sturk photo

Major changes needed to process calves amid COVID-19

Spring processing is here, when larger groups of cattle producers sometimes gather to process the calves. This year, major changes are needed. I think some changes will become the new normal in the cattle industry and some will benefit us in other ways. Livestock producers are among the most knowledgeable when it comes to biosecurity […] Read more


Cows need about 20 percent more calcium before calving and about 40 percent more after calving. Low calcium levels could make them prone to prolapse of the uterus after calving. | Wendy Dudley photo

Calcium most obvious option for pregnant downer cows

Many cows that go down close to calving are low in calcium or phosphorus, or both, and magnesium can play a role as well. When colostrum is being formed, there is a large draw of calcium into the udder and this becomes the main cause of the deficiency. To compound the problem, some cows don’t […] Read more

The procedure must be properly done, keeping in mind biosecurity and that important pledge from the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. | File photo

Proper tubing of young calves should be top priority

Tubing a young calf with colostrum, colostrum substitute, electrolytes or for other reasons can be common on cow-calf operations. The procedure must be properly done, keeping in mind biosecurity and that important pledge from the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. This article will outline proper procedures for tubing as well as some treatment parameters […] Read more

Calves should ideally receive their first clostridial shot after colostral immunity has waned, usually at about three months old.  |  File photo

Clostridial disease requires comprehensive vaccination

All cattle operations, dairy and beef, should have clostridial protection in the farm’s protocols. Calves ideally should receive their first clostridial shot after colostral immunity has waned, usually at about three months old. The herd will vary in age because of the length of calving season but producers should vaccinate all animals during spring processing, […] Read more


Monitoring and testing cattle can cost money, but it can also provide key information on when to initiate a procedure, drug, antibiotic or staff training.  |  Mike Sturk photo

Herd health monitoring can have beneficial results for producers

In beef cattle production, there are essential practices we must do to treat animals, and other practices that vary from region to region, pen to pen, or year to year. On some procedures, monitoring must be consistent to enable the producer and the herd veterinarian to set out specific points as to when to initiate […] Read more

Vaccines and parasiticides are most effective in livestock when used at the proper time. 
| File photo

Vaccination timing is important but sometimes needs fine-tuning

Vaccines and parasiticides are most effective in livestock when used at the proper time. Fine-tuning the most appropriate and cost-effective times to apply will achieve the optimum results. Over the years, we have sometimes got away with the cookbook-type approach, which means cattle always get treated with a vaccination, are dewormed and de-liced before entering […] Read more