Latest articles

A newborn black angus calf with it's mother

Very doable synchronization programs

Animal Health: Timing and attention to detail are key for breeding beef by AI

Several factors must be considered when deciding what AI synchronization program to use in your herd. One of the first is whether you have the time to heat detect yourself or if you want timed breeding. Cost is a consideration, as timed AI programs require more financial commitment and more passes through the chute. The three main synchronization programs I find most successful […] Read more

Don’t semen test bulls too young

Animal Health: What are these droplets in young bulls really telling you about semen quality?

Many commercial producers and purebred seed stock cattlemen often start to question the appearance of lots of droplets appearing on the semen evaluation forms of young bulls. It can lead to frustration when bulls have to be retested. These droplets collectively are probably the most numerous defects we as veterinarians see when performing breeding soundness […] Read more

Gruesome, but sometimes necessary

Animal Health: When there’s no other options, a dead calf needs to dismembered for removal

Fetotomy is a veterinarian’s fancy word for cutting up a dead calf within the cow during the birthing. While it sounds gruesome the process still has a valuable place in a competent veterinarian’s bag of tricks. The object is to reduce trauma or minimize damage to the cow. The calf at this point is a […] Read more

Preparedness checklist for calving season

Animal Health: Start with clean facilities and equipment and have all supplies in stock

As with any work area on the farm, having the proper equipment, keeping it maintained, disinfected and the area properly stocked with pharmaceuticals, will help insure a successful calving season. The one critical and often-forgotten component is biosecurity. With many cows and their mothers moving through the calving area at a stressful time it is […] Read more

Watch for newer respiratory pathogens

Animal Health: One is a virus, the other a bacteria — both can be hard to identify

We have all heard of coronavirus being one of the main causes of viral scours in newborn calves. It alone, with a couple strains of rotavirus, are the two main viruses we see in scours vaccines. It also causes a winter dysentery (bloody diarrhea) in mature cattle, especially housed dairy cattle in the winter. What […] Read more

calf in a pen

Various treatments for calf diphtheria

Animal Health: Injury to mouth or throat can allow bacteria to set in

I am sure most producers over the years have had calves (on a sporadic basis) develop a throat infection. These are the calves which have an extremely loud inspiratory and expiratory sound which can be heard, across the pen. They generally have extended neck breathing and are in various forms of respiratory distress. The cause […] Read more

cattle in a fenced pasture

Peritonitis more than hardware disease

Animal Health: Understanding the cause can often prevent it from happening again

Peritonitis refers to the inflammation or infection around the peritoneum, which is the inside lining in the abdomen of cattle and other species. Any infection involving or in the abdomen has the nondescript term peritonitis to describe it. This could be infection around the intestines, stomachs, liver or uterus in cows and heifers. What is […] Read more

Determine the risk level of feeder calves

Animal Health: Knowledge of how weaning was handled is useful information

There are many factors to consider when bringing in calves to feed to minimize BRD (bovine respiratory disease). It is still the number one cause of morbidity and often mortality in our feedlots. Knowing the history of the calves at weaning time, distance transported, vaccination and health history, as well as upcoming weather conditions will […] Read more

Magnesium key to prevent grass tetany

Animal Health: Chances are that if one animal goes down, others are soon to follow

Over the last few years several herds in our area have been affected with grass tetany. These herds will often have multiples cases in short order. Once clinical signs occur and cattle go down chances of recovery are very poor so treatment-wise they are a true emergency. Early in the course of the disease treatment […] Read more

Cattle diseases vary even in short distances

Animal Health: Clostridium hemolyticum is a good example of how conditions change

In talking with other veterinarians it is amazing how variable the prevalence of a specific disease can be between geographic areas. We always think of the huge difference between warm climates and colder, more temperate climates. Sometimes these differences can be as close as a one-hour drive in the same province. This becomes critical when […] Read more