A recent study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal by Dr. Brianne Henderson and colleagues at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College sought to better understand heart infections in horses.  | File photo

New Ontario study explores heart infections in horses

Infections that localize to the heart are rare but serious in any animal. A recent study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal by Dr. Brianne Henderson and colleagues at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College sought to better understand heart infections in horses. They focused specifically on infections of the heart valves, which is […] Read more

It would be wonderful if we had a simple test for libido in bulls, but unfortunately we don’t. | File photo

Reproductive success can depend on sexual motivation

Reproductive success is key to profitability for cow-calf operations. To achieve this success, two things have to happen. First, our breeding cows and heifers must cycle early in the breeding period. Second, they must conceive when bred. The first factor is largely influenced by the nutritional program and body condition of the cows and heifers. […] Read more

Irons should be made from flat bar, at least 3/8 inch thick and about 1 1/2 inches wide, and then slightly bevelled on the face to no less than 1/4 inch wide. This will allow the iron to carry some heat from the fire to the hide without too much cooling. | Photo courtesy Suzanne Rose

If branding is deemed necessary, it must be done right

Branding remains necessary in many modern cattle operations because it is still the only permanent form of cattle identification. We must make the effort to do it well. In this column, we will look at hot iron branding. A good brand should be legible from quite a distance. In Alberta, Livestock Identification Services carries out […] Read more


Colostrum is the first milk produced by lactating mammals and in our livestock species is critical for health, growth and longevity. | Getty Images

Colostrum — nature’s amazing first milk

With calving, lambing, foaling and kidding seasons upon us, something that may be top of mind for many producers is colostrum. It is the first milk produced by lactating mammals and in our livestock species is critical for health, growth and longevity. During gestation, the placental layers in ruminants and horses prevent antibodies from passing […] Read more

The birthing period and the subsequent first few days of life have been shown to be the most hazardous time of a calf’s life. | Mike Sturk photo

Dystocia, calf vigour and colostral intake all connected

As the weather begins to warm up, many beef herds in Western Canada are in the midst of calving season. Producing and weaning live calves is an obviously critical component of cow-calf profitability and problems that occur at this time can have significant consequences. The birthing period and the subsequent first few days of life […] Read more


Veterinary students need to be encouraged to enter large animal practice when they graduate. | File photo

Large animal veterinarian shortage starts with students

The shortage of large animal veterinarians in Western Canada is an age-old problem that seems to be improving with time. First, we have to look at the number of seats available for veterinary students in general. There is a rumour that seats for Alberta students went up with the addition of 20 seats at Alberta’s […] Read more

While the obvious cause of death or illness in a flock or herd may be apparent, it is good to ask, is that all that is going on? | File photo

Consider upstream factors when investigating disease

The other day, I presented a case of a deceased wolf to the veterinary students’ pathology rounds. This is a weekly event at the University of Calgary where veterinary pathologists take turns showing and discussing interesting cases to create a less formal learning experience for the students in the program. Like many things this year, […] Read more

Despite our best preventive strategies we will still see some calving difficulties even in well-managed herds. | File photo

It’s important to know when to intervene during calving

At calving time, we would prefer to have every cow and heifer calve on their own and deliver a live calf. We try to ensure this by wisely selecting bulls in terms of birth weights and EPDs for calving ease, by ensuring a top-notch heifer management and selection program, and by providing good nutrition and […] Read more


Bulls have an easier time of it with the new generation of semen collectors. | File photo

A new age arrives in breeding soundness evaluations

This article should have some good information for everyone: those thinking of evaluating for the first time, the seasoned veterinarian who has been doing it for many years for his clients and the new graduate veterinarian just getting into the process. Pulling out infertile bulls and finding bulls with other problems is now common practice […] Read more

Purebred bulls that are bought at sales held months before breeding season will likely need to be rechecked.  |  File photo

Earlier bull sales can complicate semen evaluations

Purebred bull sales in all breeds appear to be happening earlier and earlier in the year, some even occurring in December. This is months before many cattle producers plan to use them in their breeding programs. It can create difficulties for veterinarians to get these bulls’ semen evaluated ahead of time. Both sellers and buyers […] Read more