GFM Network News


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


Cattle producers have made a lot of progress but still have a ways to go

The latest in-depth survey of the cow herd shows higher rates of vaccination, but gaps remain

A recent article on the results of a very in-depth survey of cow-calf herds across Western Canada notes there has been decent improvement in vaccination usage since surveys done in the early 2000s. But it pinpoints gaps in vaccine coverage that could be improved. There are things to be learned by every producer and veterinary […] Read more

Some cattle products have withdrawal times as high as 60 days or even as high as 150 days.

Mistakes with livestock pharmaceuticals are costly in more ways than one

There are several things you should do regularly to ensure you’re using products properly

Now that I’m in the pharmaceutical industry, I get lots of calls in regard to which products can and can not be used. Or what happens if they are given by the wrong method in the wrong location. I am hoping this article will shed some light on the situation and ensure that our livestock […] Read more