GFM Network News


Intestinal lesions caused by Johne's disease.

Johne’s disease: Cheap to buy, costly to live with

“Biosecurity” often conjures up images of poultry or hog operations with truckers-report-at-the-gate signs, shower-in-and-out rules and workers dressed in hazmat suits. The point of biosecurity practices is obviously to reduce the risk that disease-causing microbes will enter or spread within high-health status herds or flocks. It is much harder to implement high levels of bio­security […] 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


An outbreak in anthrax occurs primarily in wet springs followed by a very hot, dry summer or in very dry conditions.

Preventing anthrax in cattle

In dry years, livestock graze closer to the ground and may come in contact with spores

With the fall 2018 anthrax outbreak in northern B.C., now is an ideal time to review prevention strategies. In 2006 we learned lots about the disease and how to control it with the big outbreak in Western Canada. Cattle are very susceptible, along with a long list of other species including bison and horses. It […] Read more

Subcutaneous lumps can be more visible and last longer than localized reactions from intramuscular injections. But in most cases they’re not very painful.

Be prepared for vaccination reactions in cattle

Vaccines can sometimes hyper-stimulate the immune system

Occasionally cattle react to vaccine. An allergic reaction can be mild and local, with swelling at the injection site. But if the animal goes into anaphylactic shock, it can be serious and even fatal. Vaccines contain antigens that are foreign to the body. The goal is for the body to recognize them as foreign and […] Read more


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



Rabies is a rare zoonotic disease

… and it’s almost always fatal to animals

We don’t hear about rabies being mentioned very often but when we do there is a scary connotation attached to it. It is virtually always fatal to all mammals and zoonotic to humans with no curative treatment once clinical signs develop. Only prevention through vaccination and prevention from contact by strong surveillance programs have kept […] Read more

Antimicrobial resistance should not be looked at as a threat, but rather an opportunity to reach the next level of quality and sustainable livestock production.

Change is upon us

Animal Health with Dr. Ron Clarke

Regardless of a person’s perspective on changes coming on antibiotic use in the livestock industry, one thing clear: change is not just on the way — it’s arrived on the doorstep. If not ready, it’s time to get ready. Gaps identified in the use and sale of antimicrobials in animals are nearly two decades old […] 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

Although the efficacy of blackleg vaccines is occasionally disputed in North America, there are few veterinary practitioners who would be comfortable convincing producers to stop using the vaccine.

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