GFM Network News


Any time we find liver flukes it could be a serious herd problem, so take care to treat and monitor.

They’re hard to diagnose but flukes are a concern

Unexplained weight loss is one sign that this parasite may be affecting your herd

I hear of the diagnosis of liver flukes here and there, a condition that can be hard to diagnose and has rather limited treatments. One of the first clinical signs is non-specific weight loss, which can be confused with many things. As well, having liver flukes predisposes cattle to a susceptibility to a clostridial disease […] Read more

Cattle producers are familiar with mitigating risk when it comes to infectious diseases.

Cattle sector knows about learning and adapting

Infectious disease is a constant risk on ranches and feedlots, and we know how to reduce the threat

The COVID-19 outbreak gives us time to reflect on how we do things with our livestock. Cattle producers are in the unique situation in the sense we all know about infectious disease — and mitigating risk. From now on, it won’t be as hard to explain to people how we don’t want visitors, especially around […] Read more


Technique matters when administering oral products

There are several things to be aware of when 
using balling guns and oral techniques

The use of balling guns or administration of other oral products is increasing in the cattle business, including for NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In the old days, a few antibiotics such as long-acting sulfa drugs were given as oral tablets or there were big aspirin pills. These are both actually still available today but seldom […] Read more

Producers who pay attention to teat and udder conformation rarely encounter a cow with mastitis.

Now is a good time to check udders of cows and bred heifers

Paying attention to teat and udder conformation greatly reduces the odds of having a cow with mastitis

Before calving is a good time for scrutinizing the udders of cows and bred heifers. Occasionally chronic infected quarters (probably emanating from the year previous) are highly visible as large swollen quarters compared to the other three. They will often flare up a few weeks before calving as the colostrum is being formed. Usually the […] Read more


Inducing cows is always a risk-and-reward scenario

Many factors need to be considered and no two cases are exactly alike

There comes a time in cow-calf production to induce cows to calve for a number of reasons. This may be because there is an abnormal pregnancy, the cow has a life-threatening condition, the pregnancy has gone on too long leading to health issues or other reasons. All require careful thought and examination as every case […] Read more

Treating cattle is not easy and many decisions need to be made.

Quick treatment of sick animals is often critical

Sometimes a wait-and-see approach works but often a rapid response is needed to prevent losses

Veterinary medicine, like human medicine, is very complex and difficult to master. Outcomes can rely on a quick, accurate diagnosis and followed up by a timely treatment. If we have made the right diagnosis, detected it early enough and treated with the appropriate product, then the odds of a successful prognosis will go up considerably. […] Read more


Mentoring of young veterinarians is key to retention at clinics.

What we can do to address the shortage of large-animal vets

More spots in veterinary schools and more support for new grads would go a long way

After talking with large-animal veterinarians, observing the number of ads for large-animal veterinarians, and taking part in a job fair at the University of Calgary’s vet school, it’s clear that there is getting to be a real shortage of veterinarians wanting to do either mixed- or large-animal practice in Western Canada. But strategies are starting […] Read more

Vaccinations have reduced sickness and the public needs to know that we vaccinate our cattle much as people do their newborn sons and daughters. – Roy Lewis.

Beyond Meat? More like Beneath Beef

Plant-based burgers may come close in some aspects but they remain a highly processed food

Well cattle and beef producers, this is solely marketing for marketing’s sake. With the organic, vegetarian, raised without added antibiotics or hormones movements we are seeing, I suppose a plant-based protein product was probably inevitable. What we as beef producers need to do is keep telling our story — and what we do to raise […] Read more


Parasites may be the problem when weight gain is poor

Even seemingly healthy cattle might do better after deworming

This season has really turned around in Western Canada in terms of moisture. This has seen the pastures shoot up, humidity run up and should lead to optimal survival of internal parasite larvae. If turnout to pasture occurred at normal times, maximum picking up of larvae has or is occurring so internal levels will be […] Read more

Is there really any need to brand cattle anymore?

The reasons have largely disappeared

I hope everyone will seriously question if we need to brand — and if we do, how best to do it. I have heard several veterinarians and animal welfare scientists discuss if branding in its original form is even needed today. Lots has changed from the days of the wide-open range where cattle were mixed […] Read more