Producers and veterinarians may need to change how they routinely treat cattle for lice.  |  Jeannette Greaves photo

Lice increase in prevalence across Western Canada

For the second winter in a row pharmaceutical companies are hearing lots of complaints about scratching cattle and hair loss. This means that producers and veterinarians may need to change how they routinely treat for lice. First, a positive diagnosis is important. We may handle biting lice, sucking lice and chorioptic mange differently and many […] Read more

Nervous cows are less likely to reinitiate uterine contractions.  |  File photo

Lack of contractions in calving cows has various causes

There have been several instances during my career when an unexplained delay in calving has resulted in stillborn or weak calves because the calving process was too long. I would guess that most producers have run into this problem at one time or another. Although not much research has been done on the subject and […] Read more

Udder edema is particularly prevalent in dairy cows.  | File photo

Knowing when to treat is crucial when udder edema cases appear

Producers sometimes have trouble recognizing udder edema. It is fluid accumulation within the udder and teats and ahead of the udder as bred cattle (primarily heifers) get close to giving birth. The fluid entrapment can lead to an uncomfortable condition and has the potential to cause mastitis. It could also impair long-term milk production. Udder […] Read more


Producers need to take steps to ensure their cattle have adequate traction in the chute when processing and loading them. |  File photo

Finding ways to improve cattle’s footing pays dividends

Many feedlot audits in Canada and the United States look at slips, trips or falls of cattle, especially when loading or processing, and record the percentage for good reason. There are specific areas where footing can be improved or altered. As well, new methods can be used to improve animal welfare and decrease injuries. Producers […] Read more

Producers must consider if vaccines are missing every time they process cattle.  |  File photo

Lapses in vaccination programs can have consequences

Veterinarians and producers must be constantly reviewing vaccination protocols to check for lapses in booster shot administration, missed antigens in vaccines and new or emerging diseases for which vaccines are available. Cattle that are transported into areas where other diseases are more prevalent have often been the cause of outbreaks to such things as redwater […] Read more


Warm vaccines before injecting to avoid tissue reactions. | File photo

Processing and vaccinating hints for cattle producers

Developing safe vaccination protocols for your herd can pay off. Here are some basic tips: Store vaccines in the middle area of the fridge. Follow the label instructions and maintain the chain of refrigeration. Check fridge to ensure it stays at the desirable temperature. Keep a thermometer in the fridge. Don’t store vaccines in the […] Read more

Singing the praises of vaccination programs in livestock

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association dedicates one week each fall to animal health week. This year, the theme is “vaccines save lives” and it is appropriate for all species. Vaccine use could also help reduce the amount of antimicrobial use, especially in preventing diseases caused by bacteria. I can cite numerous examples of vaccines preventing […] Read more

Before summer pasture turnout, cattle should be treated to ensure vaccinations are up to date and fly or worm control is provided if necessary.  |  Robyn Wheat photo

Pre-turnout procedures can pay off in productivity

Whether it is grass yearlings or cow-calf pairs and breeding bulls, management procedures can and should be implemented before releasing cattle to pasture. The result is better health or increased performance this summer. We likely won’t get our hands on these cattle until fall so think into the future. Some have the luxury of herding […] Read more


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

There are fewer bison deaths than cattle deaths caused by clostridial diseases, but mature bison do get sick and die from it.  |  File photo

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