GFM Network News


Dr. Edouard Timsit, University of Calgary faculty of veterinary medicine.

Pneumonia: the disease that won’t go away

The three categories of pneumonia and how to tell them apart

Environment, germs and immunity are top of mind when thinking of all the risk factors that could set the stage for pneumonia in cattle. The forgotten factor is one beyond producers’ control and the reason why pneumonia will always be a problem — anatomy. Bovine lungs are very small relative to the animal’s oxygen requirements, […] Read more



Anthrax detected in northern Alberta

Two cases confirmed from two separate beef cattle farms in the Fort Vermillion area

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has been notified of confirmed cases of anthrax in two separate beef cattle farms in the Fort Vermillion area. Given these findings and recently confirmed cases in Saskatchewan, producers are reminded to be on the look-out for anthrax. The recent hot, dry weather has led to conditions that are favourable for […] Read more

VIDO-InterVac awarded funding for new cattle vaccines

Bovine tuberculosis and Johne's disease targeted for vaccine development

Work to develop vaccines against two diseases that attack the lungs and intestinal tracts of cattle has received a $2.9 million boost from Genome Canada to co-fund research at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan. Bovine tuberculosis affects the lungs of cattle and bison, and wild species […] Read more


The potential of probiotics to promote greater livestock health

Unlike antibiotics – which kill bacteria – probiotics are live cultures of beneficial bacteria

Last year Health Canada changed its regulations on antibiotics to prevent them being used as growth promoters in livestock. Drug makers like Bayer, Merck, and Novartis had already begun the change, removing labels on their products that advertised them as suitable for non-medicinal purposes. Antibiotics are still available to Canadian ranchers and feedlot operators but […] Read more

Recent bison deaths in North Battleford caused by anthrax

Disease has a highly rapid onset in cattle resulting in sudden death

With high temperatures and drought, cattle and bison are at a higher risk of anthrax. Two bison deaths northwest of North Battleford, Saskatchewan have recently been confirmed as caused by anthrax, and seven others are suspected. Producers are encouraged to keep a watchful eye and to refresh their memories on what to do when anthrax […] Read more


There is no evidence that ionophore use in livestock increases resistance to other antibiotics that are important in cattle or human medicine.

Are ionophore antibiotics a risk for antimicrobial resistance?

Last month’s column talked about Health Canada’s initiative to phase out growth promotion claims for medically important antibiotics by December 2016. This will impact three antibiotics (tetracycline, sulfamethazine and neomycin) that have growth promotion claims in beef cattle in Canada. It will not affect ionophore antibiotics like Rumensin, Bovatec, or Posistac. Ionophores are used widely […] Read more

Comment: Get ready for antimicrobial resistance

The feds have a plan, but there's no quick fixes to AMR

AMR or antimicrobial resistance; the term certainly isn’t new, but it’s likely you will be hearing more about it now that Ottawa has released its Federal Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and Use. Canada is also working toward endorsing a Global Action Plan by the World Health Assembly. In essence the federal government has started […] Read more


Hot water treatment extended the retail shelf life of fresh burger patties by four days.

Hot water treatment of beef trim

Combating bacteria would be simple if they stayed on the surface of beef. In that case, nearly any spray or wash could contact and kill the bacteria or wash them off. But beef isn’t smooth. Shallow cuts and cracks crisscrossing the meat surface can hide and protect bacteria. Killing these hidden bacteria is not simple. […] Read more

Scientists create ‘genetic firewall’ for new forms of life

New York | Reuters — A year after creating organisms that use a genetic code different from every other living thing, two teams of scientists have achieved another “synthetic biology” milestone: They created bacteria that cannot survive without a specific manmade chemical, potentially overcoming a major obstacle to wider use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). […] Read more