GFM Network News


Excessive fluid in the hock joints of a young horse such as this three-year-old filly, is an indication that the joint is experiencing developmental distress and is at a significantly higher risk to develop arthritis as the horse ages.

What to watch for with a physically immature horse

Be mindful of the young horse’s developmental stages to protect its future health

Given the increasingly common occurrence of arthritis in today’s horses, it is worthwhile to consider the choices that are made in a young horse’s life that are large contributors to the outcome of that horse’s soundness over its lifetime. Oftentimes arthritis is viewed as a condition of the aging horse, mostly because the outward clinical […] Read more

Officials in Alberta have undertaken an extensive program for the PED virus but so far all tests have come back negative. Transport trucks are a particular focus and with mucky spring weather, the risk of the virus spreading only increases.

The mystery deepens as third case of PED found in Alberta

It’s not known how the devastating virus arrived or how it showed up in one isolated room on a second farm

Alberta hog producers are no closer to answers about how a devastating virus found its way into the province after a third case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) was confirmed at the start of March. “There are several possibilities about how it’s spreading that involve transportation, and we’re still looking into that at this […] Read more


Ever since the first case of African swine fever was found in China in August, Dr. Egan Brockhoff has been sounding the alarm. If the virus reaches Canada, it would devastate the pork sector, says the Alberta veterinarian, seen here in an affected area in south China late last year.

African swine fever would be a disaster

There is a ‘clear risk’ the swiftly spreading disease could come here, says leading swine health vet

There is a real risk that the African swine fever virus could enter Canada — and if it did, it would be catastrophic, says one of the country’s leading swine health experts. “If Canada got a single case in our country, our borders would close to all nations,” said Dr. Egan Brockhoff, a partner in […] Read more

Critics allege antimicrobial use in livestock increases the likelihood of bacteria that infect humans will become resistant to common drugs.

Antimicrobial resistance: No smoking gun, study finds

Study finds no link between antimicrobial use in livestock and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans

Researchers say they’ve tried very hard to find a link between antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cattle and humans — but despite all their efforts, were unable to do it. “We did a very comprehensive study where we studied enterococci in cattle, in waste water treatment plants, in catch basins and surrounding fields, and also collected isolates […] Read more


Thanks to an extensive biosecurity effort, Alberta had been spared the devastating PED virus — until the new year, when it was announced porcine epidemic diarrhea had been found in a 400-head hog operation in the province.

PED reaches Alberta — first case of deadly virus confirmed in province

Hog producers warned by pork officials it’s ‘especially critical’ to step up their biosecurity efforts

After years of successfully keeping the deadly PED virus at bay, porcine epidemic diarrhea has been found in Alberta. “The disease was found on Thursday (Jan. 3),” said Javier Bahamon, quality assurance and production manager for Alberta Pork. “It was reported by a private veterinarian to chief provincial offices at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Since […] Read more

An established relationship with a veterinarian is key to future use of antimicrobial products.

Horse owners need to be aware of new drug rules

You now need a prescription for all antimicrobials and a relationship with a veterinarian

First of all, the idea of veterinary oversight regarding the use of antibiotics in animals is nothing new. However, as of Dec. 1, animal owners now need the involvement of a veterinarian for purchase of all antimicrobials for animal health to ensure their prudent use. New federal regulations will require all antimicrobials used in animals […] Read more


One type of mosquito, the Culex tarsal, spreads the West Nile virus to horses and humans and this species usually appears later in the summer season.

West Nile virus numbers spiked again this summer

The number of cases of this disease in horses rises and falls depending on a complex interplay of factors

Since the first horse was detected with West Nile virus in Canada in 2002, the prevalence of the disease has cycled annually through peaks and troughs. The number of cases in horses initially peaked in 2003 following its introduction, with many fewer cases reported until 2007 when the incidence of the disease spiked once again. […] Read more

Premises ID system proves its worth

Alberta’s Premises Identification System is 10 years old and now contains more than 43,000 premises, which provides a way of linking livestock and poultry to specific pieces of land, or premises. This information can be critical in notifying livestock owners in relation to an outbreak, natural or other disaster. The notification process was used during […] Read more


Working with a vet allows you to be both proactive about herd health and have an exact plan to deal with common problems, such as foot rot or calf pneumonia, says Ian Murray, pictured with son Ty at his Acme-area ranch.

Livestock producers and vets need to communicate in the new VCPR world

The days when you could just phone a vet and ask for a prescription are now done and dusted

Producers, do you have a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship? As of Dec. 1, all antimicrobials used in animals will require a prescription from a registered veterinarian — and vets can only write a prescription if the four conditions that define a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) are met. Some producers may be wary of this new set of regulations, […] Read more

Four conditions must be met in a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship.

The nuts and bolts of a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship

A veterinarian needs to know your operation and you need to agree to his or her recommendations

The requirement for a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship for obtaining a prescription for an antimicrobial isn’t just a Canadian thing. “It’s much bigger than us, it’s a global initiative,” said Dr. Mike Jelinski, a partner in Veterinary Agri-Health Services in Airdrie. This whole initiative of tightening up on antibiotics came down from Health Canada because it is […] Read more