Dr. Claire Windeyer
Jan. 30, 2018
Winning presentation on hardware disease in cattle based on summer feedlot job experience
Erik Burow’s case presentation on hardware disease in cattle was good fodder for his future in bovine medicine.
Hardware disease is the common name for traumatic reticuloperitonitis. This potentially fatal condition occurs when cattle inadvertently eat sharp metal fragments, like bits of wire or nails, in their feed. Once ingested, this "hardware"’ can puncture the reticulum (first stomach), causing peritonitis.
Burow — a third-year student in the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) — won first place in the student case presentations at the recent Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners (WCABP) conference in Calgary.
- Photo above: Traumatic reticuloperitonitis, commonly called 'hardware disease,' is a potentially fatal condition caused by cattle inadvertently eating sharp metal fragments, like bits of wire or nails, in their feed. University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine photo
“My presentation described a single case I worked up this summer while working at Feedlot Health Management Services, as well as an investigation of a peritonitis outbreak at a client feedlot in the U.S.,” Burow explains. “The presentation shed some light on the investigation process, and the possible sources of hardware in a feedlot that had to be ruled out.
“As a student, being able to recognize common diseases in a feedlot environment through first-hand exposure to cases was really valuable.”
Dr. Claire Windeyer says presenting at the WCABP conference is a great opportunity for students. “It’s a chance for our students to engage with the community of bovine practitioners,” says Windeyer, an associate professor in the Department of Production Animal Health at UCVM. “They learn about current issues within the profession and lend their voices to those discussions.”
Along with Burow, three other students represented UCVM at the western Canadian conference.
- Sarifa Lakhdhir’s presentation, Wildfires: An Emerging Disaster of the Prairie, was based on her experience during a practicum rotation with rural veterinarians. “I presented on the events that took place during the prairie wildfires as well as the aftermath of the fires. The veterinarians and I felt the impact of wildfires on the producers, cattle, and land was an important issue that other veterinarians needed to be aware of.”
- Gráinne Pierse, who wants to work in a rural practice when she graduates, presented Weight Loss in a Herd Bull. “I believe Johne’s disease (a contagious and sometimes fatal bacterial infection of cattle and other ruminants that causes weight loss) is going to be one of those diseases that becomes very important during my career as a vet. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to work through a herd level investigation such as this one with the guidance of some excellent mentors.”
- Alycia Webster’s presentation, The Relationship Between Beef Calf and Dam Serum L-lactate Concentration at Varying Degrees of Calving Difficulty, was based on research she conducted during the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program. Webster plans to go into bovine medicine and presenting at the conference gave her a chance to spark up conversations about her interest in veterinary medicine with potential employers. “Their feedback helped further my knowledge about my research topic and improve my public speaking skills.”
“Our students did an exceptional job representing UCVM. I was really proud of them,” says Windeyer.
Dr. Gordon Atkins says a highlight of this year’s conference was a student-practitioner activity that gave veterinarians a chance to meet future colleagues and “students the opportunity to learn about the current state of bovine medicine and identify practices that could make their veterinary dreams a reality.
“As a clinical instructor for almost 10 years and a bovine practitioner for almost 45 years, it was particularly gratifying to see the passion and enthusiasm shown by both students and practitioners,” says Atkins, a professor of teaching at UCVM.
- Photo below: Vet med students Gráinne Pierse, Erik Burow, Alycia Webster and Sarifa Lakhdhir represented UCVM in the student case presentation competition at the recent Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners conference in Calgary. Burow took home top honours. Photo by Dr. Claire Windeyer