GFM Network News


Urinary stones discovered at necropsy.

Watch for urinary stones

Animal Health: Urinary blockages can be more common in early-castrated steers than bulls

Occasionally cattle suffer from kidney stones or bladder stones, just like humans. These are called urinary calculi, and are mineralized clumps in the urinary tract. In cattle, bladder stones are more common than kidney stones. Small ones usually pass out with urine and are not a problem, but sometimes stones become caught and create a […] Read more

Pre-plan for emergency slaughter

Animal Health: An animal’s suffering should be ended as soon as possible

All producers run into the need for emergency slaughter from time to time to preserve the value of an animal and prevent the waste of good meat protein. By its very nature these are emergency situations so it is important to pre-plan the chain of events that would happen in cases when it becomes necessary. […] Read more


Malignant catarrhal fever — learn about it; guard against it

Animal Health: Most sheep in North America are assumed to be carriers

“It took her piece by piece. Without a doubt it is the most devastating (cattle) disease we have ever dealt with,” says a member of a farm family who finally had to euthanize a valuable young purebred cow after two months of intensive therapy and investigation. Laboratory tests confirmed malignant catarrhal fever (MCF). The only […] Read more

Preventing parasite resistance to worms and flies

Developing and using good protocols will keep these valuable treatments working for you and your herd

We heard years ago about resistance with fly tags. I believe the first one was called Bovaid and with no other tags on the market, researchers noticed resistance developing after a few years. Soon other companies were making tags with a different family of chemicals in them, so producers could rotate them and not allow […] Read more


You don’t need a firearms safety course to use a dart gun, but it’s a good idea if you’ve never handled a gun.

Taking aim at dart gun pros and cons

Effective yes, but they need to be used with the proper diagnosis and product

Remote drug delivery (RDD) devices are becoming more common in some modern cow-calf operations. The older-style capture guns used in the past were generally used by veterinarians to tranquilize and “capture” cattle needing further treatment. Tranquilized animals could then be loaded and transported if that was necessary or put in a smaller compound if further […] Read more

More questions on mineral nutrition (part 2)

Nutrition with John McKinnon

With this column, I want to continue our discussion on mineral feeding. Last month I addressed questions regarding the adequacy/availability of trace minerals naturally found in tame and native grasses and how effective they were in meeting requirements; the role of sulphur and molybdenum in copper deficiency, and the need to understand your mineral tag […] Read more


It pays to control the pain, according to the producers we contacted.

Facing up to pain in cattle

Meloxicam brings comfort to cattle and producers

No ifs or buts about it, producers who used meloxicam to ease the discomfort of branding, castration and other routine procedures on young calves in the past plan to use it again this spring. Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to reduce inflammation, pain and fever, and fortunately Canadians now have three long-acting meloxicam […] Read more

Meconium staining of newborn calves is a red flag

This spring think of meconium as an early warning sign of many things

As a veterinarian over the past 35 years I’ve been called many times to assist with difficult calvings or malpresentations that resulted in meconium (first manure) stained calves. The jury is still out on what causes this and what we should do about it. Veterinarians have many opinions on this topic, as it is a […] Read more


Knowing when to act to help ensure a successful birth is crucial if problems occur during calving.

Improper cervical dilation at calving

Recognizing when it's happening is your first step

One of the hardest calving dilemmas you or your veterinarian face, is improper cervical dilation. Before expulsion of the fetus the cervix normally relaxes, softens and opens up essentially as wide as the vagina to allow the fetus to enter the vaginal vault. When this does not happen normally, or is delayed, the health of […] Read more