GFM Network News


Digital dermatitis.

Vet Advice: Digital dermatitis not just a dairy problem

Acute active digital dermatitis lesions can cause pain and lameness in cattle. It can become a significant production problem and a serious animal welfare issue in both beef and dairy herds. Digital dermatitis (DD) — also known as hairy heel warts, strawberry foot rot, raspberry heel, foot wart and hairy heel wart — first appeared […] Read more

Foot rot.

Vet Advice: Spot and treat foot rot early

Foot rot is an acute and highly infectious disease of cattle characterized by swelling and lameness. The condition is extremely painful. If not treated promptly, the infection invades other structures in the foot including bones, joints and tendons, complicating treatment and delaying recovery. Foot rot originates between the claws of the hoof. It is more […] Read more


Science often struggles to communicate its research findings as they are often technical and not readily understood.

Telling a story

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Our job as scientists is to find the truth. But we must also be storytellers. Science can’t exist without telling a story. The question is not whether we should use it, but how we should use it best, writes Nick Enfield in The Guardian. Scientists often struggle to communicate the findings of research. The subject […] Read more

This winter caught many cattle producers by surprise, with the deep freeze and snow depleting feed supplies quicker than anticipated.

Dealing with uncertain times

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

[UPDATED: June 13, 2019] Cattle producers across Western Canada grow weary of the relentless 2018-19 winter. For those of us living on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, it started with a record snowfall in October followed by record cold temperatures that extended across the central and northern Prairies. From mid-December to the end of […] Read more


Scientists on both sides of the issue are quite convincing. Little wonder we confuse readers when we always stress that science is good. – Dr. Ron Clarke

Bold scientists and scientific scrutiny at odds in TSE research

To argue that prion diseases don't jump species barriers is wishful thinking

An old friend called the other day. For years, Jim and I hunted together and have spent many hours discussing issues affecting hunters and the wild game industry. His concern centred around chronic wasting disease (CWD), how it had affected his family’s 2018 harvest of big game and a renewed optimism that researchers, armed with […] Read more

The majority of deaths due to bovine respiratory disease (BRD) occur shortly after arrival to the feedlot or within the first 45 days.

Chute-side diagnostics for bovine respiratory disease remain elusive

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

Speakers at the 2019 Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners addressed bovine respiratory disease (BRD) from several perspectives, including emergence of changing patterns of respiratory disease, economics of BRD, prudent use of antimicrobials in prevention and treatment of BRD, and diagnostics. BRD accounts for approximately 75 per cent of feedlot morbidity and 50 to 70 […] Read more


Tough questions can face livestock owners. If a calf recovers from illness, what caused the event to occur and what action can be taken to prevent it from happening again?

Getting help from a diagnostic laboratory

Animal Health: Diagnostic testing is geared for disease prevention and control

Veterinarians and their large animal clients find themselves in a new era. Regulatory changes regarding the use and acquisition of antimicrobials through 2018 redefined the need for veterinary-client patient relationships between livestock producers and veterinary practitioners. Increasingly sophisticated electronic communication, the universal use of computers and a changing culture of service opened the doors to […] Read more

Proper planning is always a part of getting through calving season successfully.

Why calving season is different this year

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

The first major event facing cattle producers in 2019 is planning for calving season. This year there is a new wrinkle in managing animal health programs on the ranch: establishing a veterinary-client patient relationship with a veterinarian. This provides an avenue to access medically important antimicrobials through a prescription as needed. There are few ranches […] Read more


Public still waiting for answers in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

The extensive romaine recall of 2018 is a testament to the difficulties in pinpointing tainted produce

We are often reminded that nature, not mankind, controls the universe. There is no shortage of examples: draconian fires and floods linked to climate change and tragedies such as the influenza virus in the early 20th century that killed millions. We also see people’s reluctance to prevent the damage nature asserts even though appropriate tools […] Read more

Climate change’s impact on managing animal health

Vet Advice with Dr. Ron Clarke

I’m losing more arguments with grandchildren that our climate hasn’t changed significantly, prompted by signals that have only grown more evident through the last half of my lifetime. At one point, I convinced myself that climatic changes were part of a natural phenomenon — one of those things history would look upon and call an […] Read more