Latest articles


High-risk calves a welfare concern

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) accounts for 65 to 80 per cent of the morbidity (sickness) and 45 to 75 per cent of the mortality (deaths) in feedlots. Dr. Dan Thompson of Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine, speaking at the University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine 2018 Beef Cattle Conference on managing high-risk calves, highlighted the […] Read more


Blackleg: A pasture nemesis

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Blackleg is an acute, febrile, highly fatal disease of cattle, sheep and goats caused by Clostridium chauvoei characterized by swellings with pockets of trapped air that produce crepitation (crackling) over affected areas. Although blackleg can affect any muscle in the body, including the heart and diaphragm, heavy muscles of the front and hind limbs are […] Read more



A vaccine that saved the cattle industry

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Blackleg, a disease of many ruminants, is universal. It is most commonly seen in sheep, cattle and goats. Outbreaks have been reported in farmed bison and deer. The acute nature of the disease makes successful treatment difficult. Although the efficacy of commonly used blackleg vaccines has been disputed by the occasional academic based on the […] Read more


Fake News: A chance to learn about forbidden places

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

The story appeared in the Scottish Sunday Herald, Saturday, March 31, 2018. “A group of Russian oligarchs is bidding to buy Gruinard Island off the northwest coast of Scotland. Gruinard is known as Anthrax Island after being used for testing biological weapons during the Second World War. It is uninhabited today due to fears of […] Read more



Public trust is a ticket forward for the food industry

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

The economic, social and political environment around agriculture has changed. The public, particularly consumers, have influenced the landscape of food production in ways never before recognized. The closer an industry sector’s shift is toward the supermarket meat counter and grocery shelves, the more advanced is the call toward public reckoning about matters involving the food […] Read more


Vet Advice: New regs to preserve old and new drugs

I’m often asked why even older antimicrobials are still considered medically important to human medicine. The premise, right or wrong, is to preserve antibiotic effectiveness by reducing the risk of antimicrobial resistance attributed to wholesale use in animal agriculture. While debate still rages over the impact new legislation will have on preserving antimicrobial effectiveness in […] Read more



Cold and abomasal impaction

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Beef cattle on the Canadian Prairies are subject to considerable environmental stress during winter. Starting with the early days of ranching and arrival of U.S. cattle onto the eastern slopes of the Rockies through the mid-1800s, survival of the beef cow meant adaptation to prolonged cold temperatures. Cold and the groundless belief that cattle could […] Read more


Understanding the new drug regulations

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

New regulations governing the purchase and use of antimicrobials (antibiotics) necessitate time spent between veterinarians and producers. Everyone has an opinion. Phrases like “prudent use,” “veterinary-client-patient-relationships,” “veterinary-pharmaceutical stewardship,” “veterinary oversight,” and “documented evidence” pepper the pages of government, academic and veterinary documents issued around antimicrobial use. There is a new vocabulary to be learned, the […] Read more



Farmer With Vet Examining Calf

New drug regulations require adjustment

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

No issue over the past 15 years occupied more space in agriculture, veterinary or public health-related press than antimicrobial resistance (AMR). No single topic appears more often on conference and seminar agendas than topics addressing the use, abuse and prudent use of antimicrobials in humans and animals. Petitions, a plethora of committees of every description, […] Read more


Ergot poisoning: An ancient scourge remains a problem in modern rations

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

The negative impacts of ergot contamination in food were recognized as early as the fifth century AD. Ergot, a plant parasite, commonly affects rye grass, but wheat, rye, barley, oats, brome, fescue, blue, timothy, western and intermediate wheatgrass and other grasses can also be infected. Environmental conditions associated with a cool wet spring followed by […] Read more