GFM Network News


In order to do a proper job, continual maintenance of veterinary equipment is critical.

When it comes to equipment, it’s best to be like a Boy Scout

Beef 911: ‘Be prepared’ should be your motto — maintain equipment and have a backup plan

We all spend lots of time in animal health using equipment to administer vaccines, giving implants, weighing cattle, handling cattle, and administering pain control. In the veterinary world, we use surgical instruments, semen ejaculators, ultrasounds for diagnosis of reproductive things to internal problems and other equipment ranging from tubing devices to esophageal feeders to calf

At times beef vaccines have come perilously close to being in critically short supply.

The vaccine supply is more fragile than you might think

Beef 911: Supplies can run short for many reasons, so you need to be prepared for that possibility

A lot of disease prevention and maintaining productivity relies on vaccination, and we often don’t realize how much we rely on these vaccines until there is a shortage. With there only being a few large pharmaceutical companies, there may be few alternatives to turn to. With regulatory control being very strict and changes slow to


Video meat inspection moves a step forward

Beef 911: Changes to allow video ante-mortem inspection and on-farm slaughter make good sense

All through the year accidents can happen and the need for emergency slaughter can arise. Broken legs during breeding season, fighting or, very rarely during transport, downer cattle, make access to emergency slaughter imperative. In Alberta, the government recently announced changes that will allow a mobile butcher to take video of the animal, which can

The goal should always be to produce the healthiest cattle

Beef 911: We need to get rid of the notion that high-risk cattle are the most profitable

I’ve heard it said on the feeder side that high-risk cattle are the most profitable. The argument is that when you run the numbers and take into account morbidity, mortality and all other costs, these cattle have the potential to make the most profit at the end of the day. Of course the big factor

Generics are part of a strong medicine pipeline

Beef 911: The regulatory regime, including patents, means the product lineup is always changing

Generic medicines have been around for a long time in both human and animal medicine. They are essentially copycat products that come out after the protective patents run out on the original product. You are familiar with the ‘apo’ products that are available when you get your human prescriptions filled and it is really no


In pastures identified as having flukes in the past, treating in the fall with a flukicide would be a good management approach.

They’re hard to diagnose but flukes are a concern

Beef 911: 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 (clostridium

Cattle sector knows about learning and adapting

Beef 911: 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

Care should be taken when administering products with a balling gun or other oral administration techniques.

Technique matters when administering oral products

Beef 911: There are several things to be aware of when using balling guns and oral technique

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


Small changes to your livestock care program can make a big difference

Beef 911: A better vaccination program, storing vaccines properly, pain control, and lowering stress are big wins

I was thinking, if there were several points that could make a big difference in today’s modern cattle production, what would those be? Here are some that I hope resonate with producers. There are still holes in many producers’ vaccination programs and one of the most critical is getting IBR and BVD protection into our

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

Beef 911: 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