GFM Network News


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

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


A clean source of drinking water is even more valuable in dry years. If you’re relying on dugouts, sulphates and blue-green algae 
are two serious threats.

Less rain equals more danger for cattle on your ranch

Polioencephalomalacia, fog fever, blue-green algae, and vitamin A deficiency. Those are just four potential health threats to cattle when conditions are extremely dry. “The biggest problem we have on the Prairies is water that is high in sulphates,” said Dr. John Campbell, professor in the department large animal clinical sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. […] Read more

The big brown bat is one of several species found in Alberta. Although the incidence of rabies in bats is low in the province, the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association strongly recommends people have their pets vaccinated.

Rabies case in farm cat prompts vaccination warning

Two people were recently bit by a farm cat that likely contracted rabies from a bat

A rabid farm cat that bit its owner and another person has prompted the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association to warn pet owners to vaccinate against rabies. The association said the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian received notification of the positive rabies test on Nov. 13. “This nine-year-old, indoor-outdoor cat was born and lived on a […] Read more


Vet award winners announced

The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association has announced the recipients of its 2018 ABVMA awards. Dr. Robert (Bob) Jones has been named Veterinarian of the Year while Dr. Peter Martin will receive the Meritorious Service award when the association holds its awards banquet in February. The Young Veterinarian of the Year award will go to Dr. […] Read more

Making the best of a bad situation

Beef 911: If you plan ahead, you can still get good value for an animal that suddenly needs to be put down


All producers run into the need for emergency slaughter of their livestock from time to time. With a co-ordinated effort between producers, abattoirs, and veterinarians we can realize good value and prevent the waste of good meat protein. It is important to preplan the chain of events that would happen in the event of emergency […] Read more


There are a number of things you should know before talking with your veterinarian about prescriptions.

Just what exactly does a ‘relationship’ with a vet involve?

New rules will require vets to have a fuller understanding of an operation before prescribing

The changes that Health Canada will implement on Dec. 1 require there be a relationship between the veterinarian, the client, and the patient. As the spokesperson and care provider for the patient — that may be animal, fowl, bee, or fish — it is important to know what that relationship requires. Health Canada refers to […] Read more

A properly fitting bit will lay about an inch in front of the cheek teeth, and create no wrinkles.

Equine dental care is about health and welfare — not performance

Using dentistry to make a horse perform better can cause all sorts of problems down the road

The terms ‘bit seat’ and ‘performance float’ are often used to indicate a seemingly higher, more sophisticated level of dental care for the performance or sport horse — implying that the horse will perform better with such dentistry. The duty of the equine dental provider is not to make horses perform better — even though […] Read more


The heavier winter coat protects horses from the harsh weather, but when spring arrives it begins to loosen and fall out.

Shedding offers insights into a horse’s health

This annual event arrives with spring and can be a barometer for certain problems that need investigating

Shedding of a horse’s winter coat is a complex physiological process that can reveal information about the horse’s general health. Many — well actually all — horses look cosmetically ‘messy’ during the shedding period with a thorough shed usually occurring over a six- to eight-week period. This transition period often accompanies the fickle weather of […] Read more

Attention to detail is key in a synchronization program

Beef 911: There are three main synchronization programs that 
produce good results if you closely follow the protocols

Several factors must be considered when deciding what synchronization program to use in your cattle herd. Do you have the time to heat detect or do you want timed breeding? Cost is a consideration, as timed artificial insemination programs require more financial commitment and more passes through the chute. We will explore three main synchronization […] Read more