Guidelines on humane euthanasia also apply to beef producers. |  File photo

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 is a viable option on cattle with darker hides. | Getty photo

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

A close examination of an animal’s feet and legs is required to determine the correct treatment.  |  File photo

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

Becky Bezugley, who was a veterinary student at the University of Calgary in 2015 when this photo was taken but has since become a veterinarian, treats a umbilical abscess.  |  Roy Lewis photo

Determine cause of swelling to dictate treatment required

Cattle can become afflicted with large swellings both as individual animals or on a herd basis. Diagnosing, treatment and prevention are key factors producers and veterinarians must consider. Before proceeding, causes other than abscesses must be ruled out. Abscesses take time to develop so a sudden swelling may indicate another cause. When that happens, a […] Read more


Clostridial vaccines are almost 100 percent effective, but a booster shot is essential.  |  File photo

The facts and fallacies of clostridial disease

In spite of good protection contained in vaccines for most clostridial diseases such as blackleg, tetanus and redwater, incidences are on the rise. Whether we raise cattle, sheep, goats or other livestock such as bison or elk, all are susceptible to various disease forms of the clostridial organism. As a quick review, clostridial organisms are […] Read more

Hutches come in a variety of sizes, providing calves with a dry, warm environment.
|  File photo

Calf hutches, creep areas help prevent disease

Many producers use calf hutches during calving season and for very good reason. They are especially important if calving early in inclement weather. As well, the increasing size of our herds means young calves need to get away from the crowded stress. Even producers who calve their herds in the summer will find it beneficial […] Read more

Disease reporting key in reducing spread

New challenges in beef production systems have made it more important than ever that everybody in the supply chain, including veterinarians, producers, feedlot operators, truckers and slaughter plant operators, do all they can to improve communication and help identify possible weak spots. Threats of emerging diseases and antimicrobial resistance are being heightened as cattle are […] Read more


Realizing the hidden benefits of pregnancy diagnosis

Pregnancy checking is a necessary run through the chute and can be used to perform many other procedures at the same time and obtain valuable information. Be prepared for the day’s procedures and have all ear tags, vaccines, warble lice and worm control treatments and any other required supplies handy. Farmers’ labour and the use […] Read more

Invermectin products are effective in treating warbles and other external parasites.  |  File photo

Remember warbles? They’re still around

Cattle grubs have been largely forgotten by Canadian cattle producers over the last 20 years. Young producers may not know what I am talking about but those in their 50s will remember the amount of hide and internal damage caused by larvae migrating close to the spine or the esophagus, and the breathing holes created […] Read more