GFM Network News


Most cases of scours in calves occur at three days or older, meaning they are most likely viral in origin so electrolytes will do more good than antibiotics.

Lessons from a neonatal disease survey

Calving: Measuring the incidence of early calfhood diseases across Western Canada

A very comprehensive survey was completed a few years ago by Dr. Cheryl Waldner at the Western Veterinary College in Saskatoon looking at the incidence of early calfhood diseases across Western Canada. Surveys were distributed to veterinary clinics across this region and randomly distributed to their clients. Thanks should go to the participating veterinarians and […] Read more

First EPDs for udder and teat conformation in the works

Angus herds studied for desirable traits to improve genetic selection

That first feeding of colostrum invariably charts the course for a calf’s future success and profitability. Knowing that the dam’s udder and teat structure is important to a successful first feeding Kajal Devani, is aiming to improve the genetic selection for improved mammary conformation in Canadian Angus cattle. Devani, who is the Canadian Angus Association’s […] Read more


Factors that hinder calf immunity

Calving Health with Heather Smith Thomas

Illness occurs when an animal’s body is overwhelmed by infection. A healthy animal with strong immunity is less likely to become sick than an animal with poor immunity. Immunity refers to the body’s ability to fight off pathogens, and this ability is developed in a complex process in which the body creates specific weapons for […] Read more



A simple vigour test for newborns

Give it two fingers to suck… that’s step one

Two simple observations at birth can tell you whether a newborn calf has the vigour to quickly suckle enough colostrum to achieve the protection of passive immunity. “Measuring calving ease and suckle reflex is a quick and easy method to identify beef calves that are unlikely to consume colostrum by four hours after birth,” says […] Read more

Intranasal vaccines get around maternal antibodies

Animal Health: Maternal antibodies unpredictable


Calves are born without fully functioning immune systems, making them reliant on passive immunity from maternal antibodies for disease protection. As a result, we assumed for a long time that vaccinating calves at an early age was a complete waste of time and money as the maternal antibodies would attack any pathogens introduced in the […] Read more


Doin’ what needs doin’: Part 1

A wise old farmer once advised me, “Do what needs doin’, scratch what needs scratch’in. A good piece of advice as we look ahead to calving season and the grazing season beyond. Being sure cows and bred heifers are fed properly through winter and later stages of pregnancy tops the list. Do this well and […] Read more

Monitoring the suckle reflex in calves

Some recent research has revealed a test that easily predicts which calves should receive supplemental colostrum at only a few minutes old. It was the result of some work by Dr. Elizabeth Homerosky, a veterinarian at the faculty of veterinary medicine at the University of Calgary, as she was comparing various testing procedures to determine […] Read more


Get ready for calving

Another list you might say. Seems important things tendered as advice always come in a list; some is trivia, some make sense, others simply repeat what’s been said before. The following is a bit of all three, but needs to be offered as a reminder each calving season. Hang this one by the door and […] Read more

Enzootic Bovine Leukosis Part 2 — Control

Part 1 of this article on enzootic bovine leukosis (EBL) was about the troubling news that bovine leukosis virus (BLV) is transmissible to humans, and the revelation that the presence of BLV in human breast tissue is potentially associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This article presents the basics about EBL control and […] Read more