Toe Tip Necrosis Syndrome

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.


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Lameness is the second most costly feedlot health issue after bovne respiratory disease. Aside from treatment and death losses, lame cattle eat less, grow less, convert feed to gain less efficiently, and are more prone to transport injuries. Lameness is also a significant animal welfare concern and has been incorporated into some on-farm welfare audit systems.

There are many different types and causes of lameness, ranging from genetics (e.g. conformation), nutrition (e.g. founder), the environment (e.g. frostbite), injuries and infection (e.g. footrot, hairy heel wart). Some may have several causes, like toe tip necrosis syndrome (TTNS).

This syndrome always affects the Continue reading

5 ways cattle feeders can prepare for the fall run



Before things get too busy with the fall run, take some time to learn more about (or refresh your memory on) some of the ways to promote calf health, feed efficiency and carcass quality in the animals that will be on feed in your lot this year. Continue reading

Ergot spotted in Western Canada -keep an eye out

This is a guest post written by Karin Schmid, Beef Production Specialist with the Alberta Beef Producers.

The cool, wet conditions across parts of the country this spring, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan, may have created the perfect environment for ergot.  While virtually unheard of a decade or two ago, veterinarians and researchers agree that problems with ergot are clearly on the rise in the prairies.

What is ergot?

Ergot is a plant disease caused by the Claviceps purpurea fungus.  Although traditionally associated with rye and triticale, ergot also affects wheat, barley, and a variety of grasses including bromegrass, quackgrass, wheatgrass, orchardgrass, wild rye, and bluegrasses. Continue reading

Footrot and other cattle lameness: video

The word ‘footrot’ is often mistakenly used to refer to many types of lameness in cattle. Footrot is a bacterial infection between the two claws of the foot. It is typically caused by the Fusobacterium necrophorum bacterium, which invades damaged or injured feet. Because footrot is a bacterial infection to the fleshy part of the foot, this type of lameness can be treated with antibiotics.

There are several different types of lameness, many of which cannot be treated with antibiotics. Whenever possible, producers should closely inspect the feet to determine the type of lameness in order to choose the appropriate treatment. An improper diagnosis can lead to unnecessary administration of antimicrobials, prolonged discomfort to the animal and increasing loss of production. If a lame animal does not improve with antibiotics, it does not have footrot.

The latest video in the Beef Research School series features Continue reading