The Importance of Segregating Ill or Injured Animals


The 5th annual UCVM Beef Cattle Conference is officially underway today, following a rather insightful day of pre-conference workshops at the University of Calgary’s Spyhill Campus. The pre-conference dealt with proper management of cattle, covering low-stress handling techniques, treatment protocols and humane euthanasia.

For now, I’ll report on the middle ground, as I’ve covered cattle handling in the past, and the post on euthanasia will take some time to set up.

As I entered the room, I was given a clicker, and began to listen  as the University of Calgary’s Eugene Janzen set up cases for the room to assess. The cases were presented with a still image or video and some background information (e.g. days on feed, age, previous treatments). We were expected to determine whether to call a veterinarian, treat the animal, move it to a different pen or euthanize it (with variations in the choices on a case-by-case basis).

There was a case of lameness (which we learned was toe tip necrosis), grass tetany, respiratory distress, and a poor prolapse suture, just to name a few.

The whole exercise brought home the many management decisions livestock owners have to face (some on a daily basis), and it made me question whether or not we put enough effort into segregating and monitoring sick or injured animals. Thankfully, Janzen once again agreed to an interview.

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