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The Beef Cattle Health and Nutrition Podcast
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The Beef Cattle Health and Nutrition Podcast

Author: Dr. John Campbell

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Interviews with veterinarians, nutritionists and researchers about topics related to beef cattle production in Canada
27 Episodes
Dr. Gabriel Ribeiro from the Dept. of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan is my guest this week.  He has been researching the impacts of ergot in feed sources on cattle performance and he will discuss the levels of ergot that are safe for cattle, their impacts on cattle health, welfare and performance as well as how to test for and deal with feeds that might be high in ergot.00:00 - 01:50  Introduction01:51 - 02:54  What is ergot?02:55 - 04:55  How to identify ergot in feed sources04:56 - 07:30  Ergot and climatic conditions07:31 - 08:39  Clinical effects of ergot alkaloids08:40 - 09:36  Fescue toxicity vs Ergot toxicity09:37 - 11:04  Effects of ergot on rumen function?11:05 - 15:20  A clinical trial on the effects of ergot on cattle15:21 - 17:51  Effects on the animals in the trial17:52 - 21:06  The heat stress effect21:07 - 22:44  Effects on performance22:45 - 23:56  What levels of ergot are safe?23:57 - 29:22  Recommendations for dealing with ergot contaminated feeds29:33 - 30:52  Wrap up and conclusions
Dr. Bart Lardner is my return guest this week.  He joins the podcast to discuss the implications of water quality on beef cattle.00:00 – 01:45   Introductions01:46 – 2:53   Why is water considered one of the most important nutrients?02:54 - 04:35   How do we assess water quality?04:36 - 07:11 Sulphates in water07:12 – 10:20 Total Dissolved Solids10:21 – 12:45   High Bacteria counts12:46 - 13:50 Cattle preference for water sources13:51 – 15:56   Impact of water quality on weight gains15:57 – 17:12 What should producers consider doing if water quality may be an issue?17:13 – 18:00 Wrap up 
This week I'm presenting a quick mini episode with a case from our disease investigation files.  This particular cow-calf herd had a disappointing pregnancy rate and we suspected a bacteria called Ureaplasma may have been responsible for the infertility.  Ureaplasma is a bit of a tricky organism as we can find this bacteria in completely normal animals and so it is difficult to determine when it is truly responsible for infertility issues.  Have a listen to learn what we do know about Ureaplasma diversum as a cause of reproductive failure.
Dr. Joe Stookey, professor emeritus from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine joins the podcast this week.  Joe has spent his career researching various aspects of animal behavior with a focus on beef cattle.  He joins me to discuss the problem of mis-mothering in calving cows.  It can be a frustrating situation and Joe gives some practical tips on how to deal with these situations.  Just a quick heads up, there were some technical difficulties in recording this episode and there are a couple of segments in the podcast where the sound quality is not great for my microphone.  Hopefully you can get the gist of the conversation, but apologies for the segments where the sound isn't great.00:00 – 02:32 Introduction02:33 – 3:37 How common is mis-mothering in cows and heifers?03:38 – 06:28 How does the maternal bond form?06:29 - 10:22 Risk Factors for mis-mothering10:23 – 13:40 How does calf behavior contribute to maternal behavior?13:41 – 15:32 Dealing with cows that claim calves from other cows15:33 – 17:07 Genetic inheritance of maternal behavior17:36 – 21:25 Cross-fostering calves21:26 – 23:05 Minimizing mis-mothering behavior23:06 – 24:00 Closing comments
Dr. Karin Orsel from the University of Calgary School of Veterinary Medicine joins the podcast to discuss an emerging cause of lameness in beef cattle herds and feedlots known as digital dermatitis.  She explains the importance of this disease as a cause of lameness in cattle, how to recognize it, and the challenges with treatment and prevention.00:00 – 01:46   Introduction01:47 – 3:45 Digital dermatitis – what are all the different names for this condition?3:46 - 5:37 Prevalence of digital dermatitis in dairy cattle05:37 – 09:50 Prevalence of digital dermatitis as a cause of lameness in beef cattle09:51 – 12:34 What bacteria are involved in digital dermatitis lesions?12:35 – 14:41 How does digital dermatitis get into a herd?14:42 – 17:35 Risk factors for DD17:36 – 19:19 Recognizing DD lesions in a lame cow19:20 – 20:53 Welfare and production consequences of DD20:54 – 25:16 How is DD treated?25:17 – 27:20 Challenges with foot baths as a treatment option27:21 – 28:42 Potential for vaccines for DD28:43 – 31:36 Keeping DD out of your herd31:37 – 32:30  Resources for learning more about DD32:31 – 33:20  Closing comments
Dr. Emily Snyder is a veterinary clinician and professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.  She has expertise in bovine respiratory disease, preventive medicine and antimicrobial resistance.  This week, she joins the show to discuss the risk factors of pre-weaning respiratory disease in calves and some tips on how to prevent it from occurring in your herd.00:00 – 01:41   Introduction01:42– 03:47 How commonly do we see BRD in pre-weaned calves03:48 - 05:29 When does preweaning BRD occur and explanations for two peaks in disease incidence?05:30 – 6:24 How host, pathogen and environment factors interact to cause disease06:25 – 8:43 Calf factors that impact BRD8:44 – 10:19 Environmental factors that impact BRD10:20 – 11:52 Bacteria and viruses involved in pre-weaning BRD11:53 – 12:33 Clinical signs of pre-weaning BRD12:34 – 13:26 Treating calves with pre-weaning BRD13:27 – 16:57   Risk factors associated with herds that have outbreaks of pre-weaning BRD16:58 – 18:28 Prevention of pre-weaning BRD18:29 – 19:50 Summary thoughts19:51 – 20:34 Closing comments
Dr. Roy Lewis joins the podcast to discuss breeding soundness evaluations of bulls.  Dr. Lewis is an experienced bovine practitioner who has practiced for many years in the Westlock, Alberta area.  He has also worked as a technical service veterinarian for the pharmaceutical industry and he writes extensively for many producer publications.  Roy has a special interest in bovine preventive medicine and reproductive fertility of cow-calf herds.  He chats with me about how the breeding soundness evaluation of bulls has become more commonplace and what the various components of the evaluation can tell us about bull fertility.00:00 – 01:51   Introduction01:52– 04:07 How breeding soundness examinations have evolved over the years04:08 – 05:31 Good facilities for bull testing05:32 – 08:22 Seminal vesiculitis in bulls08:33– 10:38 Measuring scrotal circumference in bulls10:39 – 11:57 Testicular degeneration in bulls11:58 – 13:28 Equipment improvements for obtaining semen samples13:29 – 15:12 Penile frenulums, warts, and hair rings15:13 – 16:37 Bulls that don’t protrude during collection16:38 – 18:12 Evaluating the semen18:13 – 20:06 Pass, Failure and Decision Deferred Categories20:07 - 21:50 Testing pubertal bulls21:51 – 24:29 Other factors that may impact fertility of the bull24:30 – 25:24  Closing comments
Dr. Chris Clark joins the podcast to discuss foot rot and sole abscesses.  Dr. Clark is a faculty member and large animal medicine clinician at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.  He has a special interest in lameness and discusses two of the common causes of lameness in cattle:  foot rot and sole abscesses.  We'll discuss the differences in how they develop and how they have to be treated in a very different fashion.00:00 – 02:45   Introduction02:46– 05:20 Costs and productivity losses associated with lameness05:21 – 07:12 Importance of lameness in cow-calf industry07:13– 09:33 General lameness categories09:34– 11:02 The 90:90:90 rule11:03 – 14:32 How foot rot cases develop17:18 – 18:55 How to identify a case of foot rot18:56 – 20:46 How to identify a sole abscess20:47 – 29:30 Treatment differences between these conditions29:30 – 31:09 Concluding thoughts31:10 – 31:58 Closing comments
Dr. Kathy Larson is a researcher in the Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan.  She joins me to discuss the economics of raising replacement heifers and gives some tips on heifer selection as well.00:00 – 01:50   Introduction01:51– 03:15 Replacement rate for Canadian cow-calf herds03:16 – 04:14 Percentage of producers raising vs buying heifers04:15 – 05:38 Advantages of purchasing heifers05:39 – 06:58 Advantages of raising heifers06:59 – 08:16 Opportunity costs associated with raising heifers08:17 – 11:16   Costs of raising replacement heifers11:17 - 12:48 What is the lifetime calf production you need to pay for raising heifers?12:49 – 15:50 Selecting replacement heifers15:51 – 18:13 Heifers born in the first 21 days of the breeding season and lifetime productivity18:14 – 19:30 Development of a heifer raising calculator with Canfax and BCRC19:30 - 20:15 Closing commentsBCRC webinar on Managing Replacement Heifers Heifer Development Page on BCRC website Valuation Calculator
Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed joins the podcast again this week to discuss proper vaccine handling, storage and administrationVaccinating Your Beef Herd unlisted playlist: Administering Vaccines: Vaccination Protocols and Records:  Cleaning Equipment: Types of Vaccines and Mixing: Vaccine Transport and Storage: Vaccine Disposal:  00:00 – 00:55   Introduction00:55– 03:24 Why is vaccine handling an important issue?03:25 – 6:59 Most common reasons for vaccine failure due to poor handling of vaccines7:00 – 9:59 Transporting and storage of vaccines10:00 – 13:03 Reconstituting modified live vaccines13:04 – 15:52 Vaccine administration Tips15:53 – 17:51   Avoiding Vaccine Wastage17:52 – 21:12   Needles and multi-dose syringe care21:13 – 21:49 Avoiding contamination of the vaccine bottle21:50 – 25:15 Vaccine record keeping25:16– 27:17 Vaccination handling resources for cow-calf producers27:18 -28:23 Closing comments 
Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed joins the podcast to discuss her latest project on working to improve the efficiency of vaccine usage in Canadian cow-calf herds.Link to Western Canadian Animal Health Network Resources (WeCAHN) Video Resources:Vaccinating Your Beef Herd unlisted playlist: Administering Vaccines: Vaccination Protocols and Records:  Cleaning Equipment: Types of Vaccines and Mixing: Vaccine Transport and Storage: Vaccine Disposal: 00:00 – 02:45   Introduction02:46 – 07:19 Improving vaccination success in Canadian cow-calf herds07:20 - 08:10 Reasons producers vaccinate08:11 – 9:47   Replacement Heifer vaccinations9:48 – 10:52 Breeding Cow Vaccinations10:53 - 11:56 Vaccinating Breeding Bulls11:57 – 12:58 Preweaned calf vaccinations12:59 – 14:46 Gaps in vaccine programs and reasons for not vaccinating14:47 – 18:37 Core vaccines for Canadian cow-calf herds18:38 – 21:10 Risk based vaccines for Canadian cow-calf herds21:11 – 25:01   Vaccination resources for cow-calf producers25:02 - 26:34   Improving vaccine success in your herd26:35 – 27:45 Closing comments
Dr. Cheryl Waldner from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine joins the podcast to discuss the challenges of controlling Johne's Disease on cow-calf herds and the results of some of her latest research.\0:00 – 2:25   Welcome and Introductions 2:26 – 3:02   What causes Johne’s Disease3:03 – 7:11  How does the MAP bacteria spread from animal to animal?7:12 – 10:02 Why is this disease so difficult to control in cow-calf herds?10:03 – 12:39 How commonly are cows and herds infected?12:40 – 16:21 What are the diagnostic tests that are available?16:23 – 22:22 Factors to consider before starting a control strategy?22:23 = 24:22 Differences in dairy herd control programs24:23- 29:23 Deciding on a testing strategy for your herd29:24 – 32:11 What else do we need to do beyond testing? 32:12 -  36:45 Biosecurity practices to prevent introducing Johnes into the herd 36:46 -  38:38 Johnes Testing Decision 38:39 – 39:50 Wrap up
This weeks episode is a bit different from usual.  I don't have a guest this week, but I'll be presenting an outbreak from our Disease Investigation Unit case files.  This case was also presented as part of a series of cases in a webinar organized by the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System:  “ Beef Cattle Vaccines: the Good, the Bad, and The Ugly” webinar with Drs. John Campbell, Tim Nickel, Bruce Kostelansky, and Eugene Janzen.  You can access that webinar here for more information about core vaccines and vaccination issues:
Dr. Claire Windeyer from the University of Calgary School of Veterinary Medicine joins the podcast to discuss the importance of colostrum in neonatal beef calves and gives advice on how and when to intervene.  She also discusses the pros and cons of various methods of colostrum supplementation.BCRC Calving Management Link with Resources on Colostrum: – 2:10   Welcome and Introductions 2:11 – 5:02   Why is colostrum important for newborns?5:03 – 5:49 How long can calves effectively absorb antibodies after birth?5:50 – 8:25 How much colostrum does a calf require?8:26 – 10:54 Assessing colostrum quality in beef cows10:55 – 12:40 Factors affecting colostrum quality12:41 – 15:00 What are the consequences in calves getting inadequate colostrum?15:01 – 16:32 How common is less than adequate colostral intake occurring?16:33 - 20:42 Risk factors for inadequate transfer of immunity20:43 – 24:55 When to intervene and supplement a calf24:56 – 26:25 Best option for colostrum supplementation26:26 – 28:11 The dangers of utilizing purchased dairy colostrum28:12 - 30:55 What to look for when using colostrum replacers30:56 – 32:38 Storing and using extra colostrum32:39 –35:45 Bottle vs Tube Feeding Colostrum35:30 – 38:20 Assessing colostrum management in a herd38:21 – 39:30  Wrap up
Dr. Jennifer Pearson from the University of Calgary joins the podcast to discuss when to intervene in calvings and the consequences of dystocia in beef cows and calves.BCRC Web Link:  Calving 911:  When and How to Assist with a Difficult Birth – 2:42   Welcome and Introductions 2:43 – 4:25   What does the term dystocia mean?4:26 – 7:08 What should a normal calving look like?7:09 – 8:30 What signs should we look for to identify cows that need assistance?8:31  – 10:20 How common are dystocias in beef cows currently in Canada?10:21 – 14:35 What are the consequences to the calf and cow of experiencing calving difficulty?14:36 – 16:44 How to decide when to intervene in a calving?16:45 – 21:15 When do we need to call for assistance?21:16- 24:45 What can we do to ensure better outcomes once the calf is delivered?24:46 – 27:09   Preventing dystocias from occurring 27:10 – 28:00 Wrap up
Dr. Van der Meer's contact information if you are a Western Canadian cow-calf producer interested in participating in his field study on causes of calf diarrhea:     frank.vandermeer@ucalgary.ca00:00 – 2:34   Welcome and Introductions 2:35 – 4:20   The importance of neonatal calf diarrhea4:21 – 5:39 Pathogens involved in neonatal calf diarrhea5:40 –7:37 Can you diagnose the cause of neonatal calf diarrhea clinically?7:38 – 14:11 Coronavirus and Rotavirus as causes of calf diarrhea14:12 - 16:29 Treating calves with viral diarrhea16:30 - 22:23 Challenges with developing effective viral vaccines for neonatal calf diarrhea22:24 – 26:50 Where do these viruses come from and the importance of booster vaccines26:51- 31:39 Current field study on causes of calf diarrhea31:40 – 32:48   Wrap up 
00:00 – 2:23   Welcome and Introductions 2:24 – 4:28   The difficulties associated with investigating fetal losses4:29 – 7:25 What amount of fetal loss would be expected as normal?7:26 – 10:03 What should you do when your herd starts to experience fetal losses10:04 – 12:01 Percentage of abortion cases that are successfully diagnosed12:02 -  13:25 What other diagnostic tests can we use?13:26 -  16:44 Common causes of abortions16:45 – 20:25 The importance of vaccines in preventing fetal losses20:26 -  25:26  How to reduce the risk of fetal losses25:27 – 26:30   Wrap up
00:00 – 02:00 Welcome and Introductions02:01 - 03:28 Moisture and Dry Matter03:29 - 05:44 Dry Matter Intake Estimates and factors that affect DMI05:45 – 07:03 As Received vs Dry Matter07:04 - 09:50 Energy Estimates: TDN, Net Energy (maintenance, gain and lactation)09:51 – 13:47 Protein Estimates:  Crude Protein, DIP, UIP, ADFCP, NDFCP, Adjusted Crude Protein13:48 – 15:37   Rules of thumb for Crude Protein and TDN at different stages of gestation/lactation15:38 – 17:35   Acid Detergent Fiber vs Neutral Detergent Fiber17:36 - 20:26 Maximum NDF values for cow rations20:27 – 23:21 Calcium and Phosphorus ratios23:22 – 26:22 Magnesium and Potassium (Tetany ratios)26:23 – 29:31 Sodium levels, Sulfur levels, body condition scoring29:32 – 30:39 Where can producers get help?30:40 – 31:35 Wrap up  
00:00 – 2:18   Welcome and Introductions 2:19 – 4:09   The importance of feed efficiency4:10 – 6:17 Explaining Residual Feed intake6:18 – 8:04 Measuring feed efficiency in research trials8:05 – 9:28 Limitations of feed efficiency measurements in beef cow systems9:29 – 12:27 Describing an alternative system for ranking beef cow efficiency12:28 – 15:18 Variability in the indicators of efficiency and why they were chosen15:19 – 7:30 Evaluating the digestive physiology in high efficiency and low efficiency cows17:31 - 19:45   Main differences between HE and LE cows19:46 – 23:37   Describing ruminal differences between HE and LE cows 23:38 – 25:00   Limitations and advantages of this research approach25:01 – 27:25 How to use this concept to select efficient cows on your own ranch27:26 – 29: 51   Wrap up and conclusions
00:00 – 2:51   Welcome and Introductions 2:52 – 4:02 Importance of neonatal calf diarrhea in cow-calf herds4:03 – 6:48 What are the pathogens that are associated with calf diarrhea?6:49 – 7:29 When are diagnostics important?7:30 – 8:42 Strategies to employ to minimize risk of diarrhea8:43 - 11:00 Sandhills calving system effectiveness11:01 - 13:15 How do you implement the Sandhill’s calving system?13:16 –  17:03 The Foothills Calving System17:04 -  19:10   How to implement a new calving system on your ranch19:11 – 20:31   Using these calving systems on more intensive operations20:32 – 22:10 Other challenges with implementing new calving systems22:11 – 25:43 The importance of colostrum and an easy method for deciding if a calf needs supplemental colostrum
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