USask scientists study space and sickness in feedlot cattle
As researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) and Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) study the impact of stocking density and feed bunk space allowance on the health of beef cattle, they’re pondering the age-old question: “Is less really more?”
Why studying microbiology will make me a better veterinarian
When I tell people that I spent a summer working with bacteria rather than animals, I get puzzled looks and they often ask, “What does that have to do with being a vet?” The answer is simple: everything.
Cattle producers and scientists 'rub shoulders' at research forum
Livestock and forage scientists at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) seeking to refine their research met with producers and industry leaders at the sixth annual Beef and Forage Research Forum.
Collaborative research team teases out significance of stressors found in pigs’ hair
Stress. We’ve all been there — those moments of acute stress when we’re stuck in traffic or those periods of chronic stress when life seems to chuck all the lemons at us. But did you know that all of this stress information gets stored in your hair?
USask researchers devise strategies for faster disease detection in honey bees
While the rise in antimicrobial resistant pathogens is an issue affecting all species, a team of University of Saskatchewan (USask) researchers are focusing their efforts on honey bees — investigating how they can reduce the use of antibiotic drugs for managing disease in the pollinator species.
Llamas and alpacas: potential animal models for reproductive research?
A study at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) promises not only to provide important information about llama and alpaca reproduction but also to determine if the camelid species could become animal models for reproductive research.
USask research team explore protein’s role in herpesvirus infections
Herpesviruses are nothing new, but what’s surprising are their sheer number: 130 species of herpesviruses infect and cause disease in a wide variety of species — including people.
Range to research: how ranch lessons aid my research job
At first glance, sitting on the back of a horse watching cattle graze seems a whole world apart from extracting DNA at a pristine lab bench. But my experiences in research and ranching have shown me that both disciplines share common principles.
WCABP names WCVM graduate bovine vet of the year
Dr. Calvin Booker of Okotoks, Alta., a Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) graduate, is the 2023 recipient of the Veterinarian of the Year Award — an honour supported by the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners (WCABP) and Boehringer Ingelheim Canada.
USask scientists receive provincial honours
Dr. Volker Gerdts (DVM, PhD), director and CEO of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) and professor in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), has been recognized with an Achievement Award by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF).
Improving livestock health overall aim of WCVM research studies
Detecting infectious poultry diseases more quickly and developing regional influenza vaccines for pigs are among 28 innovative livestock and forage research projects at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) that will receive funding through the Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) in 2023.
Delving deeper into swine dysentery
As you wander down the meat aisle and view the variety of available pork cuts, you’re probably not thinking about the people and the work behind getting the meat to the supermarket.
Veterinary professor at USask launches bovine health podcast
A University of Saskatchewan (USask) beef cattle specialist at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) has launched a new podcast that gives listeners a Canadian perspective on beef cattle health and nutrition.
‘Agnes’ and animal health highlights of WCVM exhibit at 2022 Agribition
This week, Canadian Western Agnes — “Agnes” for short — and her team from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) will be back at the 2022 Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, Sask., following a two-year gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He or she: what will it be?
“Boy or girl?” Expectant mothers hear that question a lot, and thanks to ultrasound technology, many human parents have the option of finding out the answer long before their baby is born.
Manitoba government reserves seats for ag-focused students
The Government of Manitoba announced on Oct. 7 that the province’s five additional seats at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) will be aimed at students with rural backgrounds who plan on returning to rural veterinary practice and supporting livestock and poultry industries.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba increase funding to educate veterinarians at USask
Saskatchewan and Manitoba are addressing Western Canada’s urgent need for more veterinarians by increasing their funding to educate more students in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s (WCVM) Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at the University of Saskatchewan (USask).
USask team plans unique facility to develop, test alternative fish food
A University of Saskatchewan (USask) research team is partnering with an array of industry groups to establish a “globally unique” facility on campus to develop and test plant- and insect-derived proteins to replace the fishmeal that has no great substitute in aquaculture feed today.
Saskatchewan expands eligibility for veterinary loan forgiveness program
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced updates to its student loan forgiveness plan for veterinarians and registered veterinary technologists (RVTs) who serve livestock stakeholders in rural and remote communities.
How much is enough? Public knowledge and the microbial world
As a recent University of Saskatchewan (USask) graduate who just completed my animal bioscience degree, I’ve had my eyes opened to so many things that I’d never imagined would interest me.
New project has big impact on bison genome biobank’s development at USask
Researchers’ aim of developing the world’s first bison genome biobank at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) received a critical boost on July 14 with Genome Canada’s funding announcement of $5.1 million for the Bison Integrated Genomics (BIG) project.
New VIDO Vaccine Development Centre opens
The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has completed the construction of its Vaccine Development Centre (VDC), strengthening and expanding Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing capacity.
Let's talk about mastitis
“Why won’t they listen?” It’s a complaint we can all relate to. Whether you’re an animal owner or a veterinarian, you have probably found yourself questioning why the person on the other side of a conversation isn’t reacting the way you had expected.
WCVM hires pollinator health research chair
A new University of Saskatchewan (USask) research chair position at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) will focus on the health of pollinators that play an integral role in global food production and agricultural sustainability.
What a swine flu vaccine can teach us
Wary of the COVID-19 vaccine? Well, eat some pork and relax. Scientists have been whipping up vaccines in short order for decades, and the fact you can still enjoy your morning bacon is proof that these vaccine products are safe and effective.
Time is money: rapid diagnostic testing for bovine respiratory disease
A multidisciplinary research team is working to develop rapid genomic testing methods that will change the way feedlots make decisions about antimicrobial use and ultimately improve antimicrobial stewardship.
USask selects new Beef Industry Integrated Forage Management and Utilization Chair
Bree Kelln has been selected as the new Beef Industry Integrated Forage Management and Utilization (IFMU) Chair for the University of Saskatchewan (USask).
Rams’ breeding soundness key to sheep flock health
Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) are working to update the ram breeding soundness evaluation guidelines so they represent specific sheep breeds raised in Western Canada.
Protecting endangered species and habitats
Dr. Eric Lamb (PhD) understands there are no easy answers when it comes to the delicate balance between ecology and the economy in a proudly agriculture-driven province.
Detmer settles into council chair at USask
Dr. Susan Detmer (DVM, PhD) came for the conference, and stayed for the career.
What’s the best approach to boosting calves’ immune response?
A Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) study co-led by Drs. Nathan Erickson and John Ellis is investigating whether different vaccine prime-boost approaches can help calves develop a better immune response against pathogens associated with bovine respiratory disease.
Our five favourite articles of 2021
As 2021 wraps up, the WCVM Today team has reviewed the past year’s content from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s news archives and selected a handful of favourite stories for our readers. Enjoy!
WCVM scientists aim to disrupt growth of bovine pathogen
A University of Saskatchewan (USask) research team is evaluating how a panel of drugs might affect Mycoplasma bovis — a bacterium that’s responsible for causing serious health issues among Canada’s cattle herds.
Veterinary field epidemiology program fills unique niche
Dr. Caitlyn Best is about to add a few more letters to her already lengthy set of professional credentials, becoming the first person to graduate from Canada’s only master’s program in veterinary field epidemiology.
Novel ergot research leads to top-tier scholarship for USask student
University of Saskatchewan PhD student Jensen Cherewyk has been awarded one of Canada’s most prestigious doctoral scholarships for leading-edge research into an overlooked compound formed by a toxic fungus in forage grasses and cereal grains that threatens human and animal food safety.
Equine education series returns
The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) is offering new equine education opportunities for both horse enthusiasts and veterinary professionals in 2021-22.
Multi-species bacteria threat to Canadian swine industry
A previously innocuous bacterium that’s considered to be part of a pig’s biological makeup is causing increased cases of fever and death among Canadian swine herds.
Two WCVM researchers join university's CAHS Fellows
Three University of Saskatchewan (USask) leaders and researchers — including two faculty members of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) — have been inducted as fellows into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS).
WCVM scientists work on new testing method for cattle-adapted bacteria
A research team at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) is developing a more cost-effective method to detect a type of salmonella bacteria that’s difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to eradicate from dairy cattle herds.
Prairie-born veterinarian ready to test waters of aquaculture medicine
Dr. Paul Thiessen has always wanted to be a veterinarian, but his concept of a veterinary career dramatically changed during the four years he attended the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
Rural roots run deep for new veterinarian
Dr. Hayley Down worked as a registered veterinary technologist (RVT) in southeast Saskatchewan, and after six years of schooling, she’s now returning to rural mixed animal practice as a veterinarian.
Genome sequencing key to beef cattle specialist's antimicrobial research
Beef cattle specialist Dr. Emily Snyder is applying her expertise to address antimicrobial resistance — one of the most pervasive health issues affecting background and stocker operations in the beef cattle industry.
WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre accepting emergency cases only
As of April 28, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is accepting emergency cases only for its small animal and large animal clinical services until further notice.
Unique stem cells hold reproductive potential
Preserving endangered species, curing male infertility, making milk that prevents disease, supplying hospitals with transplantation tissue — all of these accomplishments can be linked to spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) and to important research that’s being carried out at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
Saskatchewan enhances support for rural veterinary services
The Government of Saskatchewan is introducing a number of initiatives to enhance the availability of veterinary services in rural Saskatchewan.
Veterinary life on the road
Dr. Colton McAleer always wanted to follow in his family’s footsteps and have a career in the cattle industry. But after helping pull a calf during calving season one spring, he changed his mind and went to veterinary school.
Growing a practice in rural Saskatchewan
Jumping into ownership wasn’t the original plan that Dr. Zachary (Zach) Johnson had in mind when he was initially accepted into the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
WeCAHN final piece of Canada's regional animal health surveillance network
A new initiative in Western Canada is the final piece in a national framework of regional animal health surveillance programs
Study reveals bacteria on eye's surface not all the same
A pioneering study led by University of Saskatchewan (USask) veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Marina Leis (DVM, DACVO) shows that bacterial communities vary on different parts of the eye surface — a finding that significantly alters understanding of the mechanisms of eye disease and can lead to developing new treatments.
Can corn help to extend winter grazing?
Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are exploring new ways to extend the winter grazing season for cattle by using what’s left after farmers harvest corn.
New USask research helps rescue threatened bison
Fast like the wind, baby bison Skeeter happily runs to his mum across the pastures of USask's Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE).
WCVM student receives bee health research scholarship
Project Apis m., an international bee research organization, has awarded a $10,000 scholarship to Dr. Michael Zabrodski (DVM) of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) for his work in bee health research.
WCVM scientists gain funding for livestock projects
Two research teams involving veterinary scientists at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have received more than $1.1 million to improve antimicrobial use practices in the beef cattle industry and to enhance animal feed processing.
Honey bee health: a backyard perspective
When I look out my kitchen window, I see a peaceful scene with two honey bee colonies buzzing next to my vegetable garden.
Bruce Coulman selected as LFCE's interim director
Renowned University of Saskatchewan (USask) forage breeder Bruce Coulman has been selected to lead the university’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE) as interim director, effective Oct. 19.
Guarding animal health on the Prairies
Dr. Yanyun Huang has ambitious goals for Prairie Diagnostic Services (PDS).
Detecting bird flu before it's ready to take off
What did you eat for breakfast this morning? What about for lunch and dinner? Chances are you ate eggs or chicken for at least one of those meals. In Canada, poultry products are the most commonly consumed animal protein source; the average Canadian eats 242 eggs and 79 pounds of chicken each year.
Burglar bees help spread of honey bee infection
It may sound like a tall tale, but burglar honey bees raiding nearby hives is contributing to the spread of a disease called American foulbrood (AFB) in Saskatchewan.
WCVM research targets deadly PRRS virus
Researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have been making headway in their investigation of a disease that has a huge economic impact on swine producers worldwide.
USask appoints new dean in College of Agriculture and Bioresources
Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn (PhD) has been appointed the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan (USask).
Vets' work with food animals vital during pandemic
Veterinarians play a vital role in maintaining the health of Canadian food animals and keeping the food supply chain running smoothly.
USask drinking water study shows beef cattle can tolerate high levels of sulphates
Scientists at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) have published a study that shows beef cattle can tolerate higher concentrations of sulphates in drinking water than previously believed.
New drug protocol may reduce pain during castration
A Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) researcher and his team are looking into new options for pain management during castration of beef calves.
Research chair targets better health, productivity in beef herds
With $2.35 million from the federal government and the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), veterinary researcher Dr. Cheryl Waldner will undertake a major five-year research program to advance beef cattle health and productivity, helping to sustain the profitability and competitiveness of Canada’s $17-billion-a-year beef industry.
New reproductive tool may help meet consumer demand for ‘natural’ food
Today’s consumers want more from their food, and the beef and dairy industries are constantly striving to meet these demands. As more companies market their food as “natural” — raised without additional use of hormones, steroids, and antibiotics — concerns regarding steroid use in food production have multiplied.
Study focuses on bee world’s royalty
Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) researchers have welcomed female royalty onto campus. But their brush with the upper crust is in a much different class than Meghan Markle or Kate Middleton.
Agribition pledges $100,000 to Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence
Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) has announced a contribution of $100,000 over the next decade to the University of Saskatchewan’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE), the largest and most comprehensive centre of its kind in Canada.
‘Why wait?’ researchers work toward bison biobank
The day begins beautifully. The sun is shining and the vivid blue sky stretches out over the never-ending prairies. I’m at the Native Hoofstock Centre — part of the University of Saskatchewan’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (Goodale Farm). Believe it or not, I’m helping to shift a sedated, 550-kilogram bison cow into a better position to collect her eggs (oocytes).
New USask Beef Industry Chair aims to improve sustainability and profitability
Gabriel Ribeiro, the new Saskatchewan Beef Industry Chair at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), will be developing nutritional strategies to improve health, performance and profitability, while lessening the environmental impact of beef cattle production.
Cow-calf survey shows successful move to spring calving
Results of the Western Canadian Cow-Calf Surveillance Network study led by researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have shown producers are increasingly moving to a later calving season as a means of expanding herds.
Revelling in research: poster day celebrates undergraduate program
From disease in honey bees to pain management in beef calves, the research topics on display at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s (WCVM) annual undergraduate research poster day spanned species big and small.
This little piggy went to market
How well do weaned piglets cope with stress during transport? Western Canada exports large numbers of weaned piglets each year, but the effects of these transports on piglets’ health and welfare is poorly understood.
WCVM researchers receive $5.6-million for advanced diagnostics research
The future of diagnostic testing for livestock disease could fit into the palm of your hand.
Bacteria-killing molecules may be key to new mastitis therapy
A Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) researcher and his team are taking a molecular approach to finding a new way of treating a common health issue in the dairy industry.
New 'pig code' has enhanced swine welfare
Canada’s swine sector has made a lot of progress in enhancing the welfare and well-being of pigs raised in this country, says Manitoba swine veterinarian Dr. Blaine Tully.
Veterinarian looking at ways to manage TB in northern bison herd
A Parks Canada scientist is conducting research on bovine tuberculosis in bison to improve diagnosis of the disease and to develop better vaccines. This research is conducted in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Bison Association.
Playing ‘bee’ to study pesticide effects
Pretending to be a honey bee is a lot of work, but researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have proved they’re up for the challenge.
WCVM scientists awarded nearly $1.5 million in research funding
Researchers linked to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have been awarded $1,495,000 to address a wide range of issues including preventing pregnancy loss in horses, evaluating tick-borne diseases, and protecting pigs from influenza A infection.
USask researchers awarded nearly $11 M in natural sciences, engineering grants
University of Saskatchewan (USask) researchers have been awarded nearly $11 million to tackle wide-ranging and critically important issues including cannabis, water quality, and swine flu.
Merck Animal Health announces $250K investment to advance livestock and forage research
The University of Saskatchewan today announced details of a 10-year, $250,000 investment from Merck Animal Health for its Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE) – a visionary research facility located southeast of Saskatoon.
Vaccine development speeding up at USask
The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is embracing new technology.
New policies needed to combat grain fungus of cattle
USask research has shown that beef cows that ate ergot-contaminated feed showed signs of poisoning even at concentrations deemed safe by Canadian livestock guidelines, and after a short-term exposure to the toxin.
Water quality research first project in state-of-the-art metabolism barn and labs
The first scientific study in the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Metabolism Barn at the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence will identify how different levels of sulphates in water affect beef cattle.
Llama drama: Research into the mechanics of llama ovulation reveals a rare tumour
All it took was one ultrasound image to change all of our plans. I was part of a research team from the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) investigating how llamas ovulate. The season was just gearing up and we were doing the usual reproductive-function exams on the 25 research llamas at the college’s llama and alpaca farm near Saskatoon.
Boehringer Ingelheim forges partnership with USask Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence
The University of Saskatchewan has announced a five-year partnership and $250,000 contribution from research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. that will support advancements in innovation and leadership at the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE).
Vet’s world built on community connections
Relationships and trust — these two words sum up the core values that have guided Dr. Tom Schmidt throughout his veterinary career. Since his graduation from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in 1989, Schmidt has been a trusted clinician, adviser and friend to his clients in the North Battleford area.
Agriculture integral part of vet’s work and life
Most people know Dr. Andrew (Andy) Acton first and foremost as the owner-operator of Deep South Animal Clinic in Ogema, Sask., a mixed-animal practice where he spends his days working to make both small and large animals alike live happy, healthy lives.
Collaborative research is the key to the LFCE
The newest kid on the block for researchers at the University of Saskatchewan is a world-class facility that brings together under one roof all aspects of raising livestock in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.
Big on beef, passionate for poultry
They are both passionate about animal welfare and about research advancements to improve the agriculture industry.
Vet’s work in ag industry powered by education and research
At the first job she ever held as a veterinarian, Dr. Leigh Rosengren remembers her boss telling her that he was going to keep piling things onto her plate until she cried — only then would he take one item off.
Is temperament linked to stress in beef cattle?
Understanding how cattle behaviour relates to productivity, immune status and welfare is a key research focus for Dr. Diego Moya, beef cattle ethologist at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
U of S Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence celebrates grand opening
On Oct. 9, the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and its partners launched the $38-million Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE), a world-class complex of field and science laboratories that will be a powerhouse for innovative research, teaching and industry engagement in all aspects of livestock and forage production.
U of S appoints new director for its Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence
The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) has appointed Kris Ringwall as the new director of its Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE), a powerhouse for innovative research, teaching and industry engagement in all aspects of livestock and forage production.
How a new vaccine could save cattle herds – and livelihoods
For 10,000 years, the bacterium Mycoplasma mycoides has infected goats, cows and other livestock, annihilating entire herds in days.
Saliva test could lead to better parasite control
Researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) are looking for a more accurate way to detect internal parasites in beef cattle by looking at the animals’ saliva.
Toe tip necrosis painful problem among feedlot cattle
Toe tip necrosis syndrome (TTNS), a painful disease that mainly affects the hind feet of cattle, was once thought to be a rare occurrence in North American feedlots.
Poultry powers B.C. vet’s career
For many people, poultry is simply another option in a long line of dinner ideas. But for Dr. Stewart J. Ritchie, president of Canadian Poultry Consultants Ltd. and S.J. Ritchie Research Farms Ltd., chickens (feathers) are a way of life.