Still a long way to go

Vet advice

A number of recent agriculture publications has questioned whether or not we are approaching the biological limit of individual animal production. The big question: How might this influence long-term sustainability of the cattle business? To think our industry might be approaching biological limits to how fast a feedlot steer grows, how efficiently it converts feed […]


Rubber boots, a bottle of bleach, and a cleaning brush.

On-farm biosecurity: Keep it practical

A veteran vet’s advice for cow-calf producers

Verified Beef Production (VBP) – It’s not hard for on-farm biosecurity to get complicated. But when you’ve been around the industry like Dr. Tom Pittman of the University of Calgary, you get a clear idea of what works. Having complicated biosecurity protocols without practising basics just does not make sense, he says. The target should be […]


Vitamin E/selenium requirements an open book

Vet Advice

Although frank mineral deficiencies and toxicities have been described in detail, little quantitative information is available to describe mineral requirements of beef cattle for a given physiologic state or level of production. Most economic losses associated with mineral nutrition stem from less obvious circumstances like subclinical deficiencies. According to Dr. K. Olson at the department […]


Seeking Credibility

Two recent events jumped agriculture’s role in the antimicrobial resistance merry-go-round into high gear. First was the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Final Guidance 213 (December 2013) that established a three-year time frame to end the use of medically important antibiotics as growth promotants. There were also new rules on veterinary oversight related to antibiotic […]


Animals front and centre on emerging human diseases

In less than two decades, perspectives on the relationship of disease emergence in humans and domestic animals has changed dramatically. Toward the end of the 20th century, the underlying causes of emerging infectious disease were primarily attributed to aberrations in human behaviour. Methods of control and prevention were all too often centred on changing human […]


Mother cow and calf.

The Top 10 list to an easier calving season

The chances of a successful and stress-free calving season are redoubled with planning. One part of the plan is advanced preparation for dealing with things that can go wrong once calving is underway. The other is handling the longer-term pieces of brood cow management that avert many common problems, things like nutrition and vaccination. As […]


Vet Advice: Will we ever learn?

Our family moved recently. During the tedium of moving and editing files, a copy of an article I wrote 10 years ago fell from a bundle of papers. “Ginny’s Sick” stared at me from the floor and brought back a flood of memories: a grandchild in Stollery Children’s Hospital on the end of a transfusion […]


Avoid allergic reactions

With only the rare occurrence of allergic reactions in cattle they are not mentioned much in the literature. However, today’s modern producers give more in the way of vaccines and antimicrobials. With longer-acting products that are only approved subcutaneously or intramuscularly and not intravenously the risk level is elevated. The carrier or base in the […]


Vet Advice: An imposter among us

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is one of the most important diseases of deer in North America. The viruses that cause EHD are widespread in whitetail deer and cause serious epidemics in wild populations. Some of the EHD virus strains causing disease in deer can also affect cattle. While EHD is rarely fatal in cattle and […]


Ergot poisoning

Resurgence of an ancient fungus in Prairie grains that causes disease in animals is a reminder of earlier times, a backslide to the Middle Ages and before where it often changed how people lived and ate. Precipitated by cool, wet conditions through early stages of the growing season, ergot (Claviceps purpurea) is expected to be […]