Abnormalities can affect any system in the body and range in severity. | File photo

Abnormal development results in many calf problems

With calving season upon us again, I’ve been reflecting on the wide range of things that can go wrong in fetal development. Abnormalities can affect any system in the body and range in severity. The most serious and severe abnormalities cause spontaneous abortion or neonatal death. Others are mundane and are only detected by chance. […] Read more

Some of the adaptations that make horses so athletic probably predispose them to fatal injuries such as this ruptured aorta, which is a major blood vessel.  | University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine photo

Physiological adaptation makes horses top athletes

Among animals, horses are remarkably adapted to thrive in a wide variety of climates and environments, including some of the more extreme places on Earth. For example, a herd of horses occupies Sable Island, one of Canada’s newest national parks. The horses have lived on the island off the coast of Nova Scotia since the […] 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

Modern broiler chickens grow rapidly to reach a weight of about two kilograms in less than six weeks.  |  Jamie Rothenburger photo

Research suggests chickens defining animal of our age

Among all domestic animal species, chickens have a special place in the history of human civilizations and on our dinner plates. Chickens were domesticated from wild jungle fowl that lived in the forests of southeastern Asia and spread via trade routes into the Middle East, Europe and Africa. During the establishment of European colonies worldwide, […] 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

Mice and rats are capable of carrying a wide variety of viruses, bacteria and parasitic worms that can be spread to other animals and people.  |  Getty images

Rodents on farms pose health risk to livestock, people

We all know intuitively that rats and mice on farms are a bad thing. With their continually erupting teeth, these rodents can chew and nibble their way through important infrastructure. They can destroy walls, pipes and equipment. Barn fires have often been attributed to damaged electrical wires, and rodent arsons are usually prime suspects. Rodents […] Read more

Bovine leukosis virus is a bigger problem in dairy cattle than beef herds.  |  File photo

Breeding bulls may be source of bovine leukosis virus

Bovine leukosis virus is a widespread viral infection in cattle in North America. Dairy cattle tend to have a higher level of infection with estimates of 14 percent of all dairy cows being infected with the virus. Older cows are often more likely to be infected. The virus is usually spread from animal to animal […] Read more


Dogs are more likely to get into a marijuana stash than cats because of their curiosity and often unscrupulous eating habits.  |  Getty Images

Marijuana toxicity can pose health problems for pets

The first time I treated a cannabis overdose was when a man brought in his beautiful, new nine-week-old puppy. The roly-poly bundle of joy had ripped open a baggy and gorged on the entire stash. The man was sick with worry and rightly so — marijuana toxicity can be very serious in pets. The recent […] Read more

Due to their lifestyle, farm dogs have unique health and wellness considerations that differ from pampered city pooches. |  Getty image

Farm dogs require unique health care requirements due to lifestyle

Dogs are dogs. They all have the same basic genes, whether they are Great Danes or Dachshunds. They also have relatively similar anatomy, immune systems and metabolism. All dogs are susceptible to certain infections and conditions. But due to their lifestyle, farm dogs have some unique health and wellness considerations that differ from pampered city […] Read more