May 19, 2021 News

Upper Grand Veterinary Services is offering a new service; fecal testing done in house. For the month of May, we have a special promotion! Below is information on the importance of running fecal testing, methods of collection, and how the process of testing occurs – a little behind the scenes.

What happens once the feces has left your farm? You may have had a veterinarian collect a fecal sample and have them tell you that they are going to have fecal testing run at the lab. But what does that really mean? A technician is often examining the fecal samples under a microscope for the presence of parasites; often seen as eggs and/or cysts. These tests are run to prevent parasitic diseases in animals, and there are various tests that can be run.

With a mild burden of parasites, an animal may show no symptoms, however as the number of eggs increases you may notice symptoms. Fecal testing allows for us to assess parasitic burden in single or multiple animal(s). We can also assess if there is parasite resistance in animals that have been dewormed.

The first step in being able to run a fecal test is collecting the feces. Collection Method, though it may often be overlooked or thought of as not important, is extremely valuable for accurate results. When a sample is being collected from livestock there are two options; if you are concerned about one particular animal then ensuring you only get their feces is very important. However, if you are wanting to know how the herd’s parasitic burden is you can collect a pooled sample from a few different animals. When collecting from one single animal you can use a rectal sleeve or glove to collect a small sample (5- 10grams/little handful) of feces. Turn the rectal sleeve or glove inside out and tie in a knot to ensure feces does not end up on yourself or the ground. For collecting a pooled sample, it is best to put a few samples into a container so the samples get a degree of infection within the group. It is important to label the glove or container with your name – first and last, along with the animals’ ID or pen if a pooled sample. If the sample isn’t going to be brought into the clinic within 1 hour, please place the sample in a fridge to allow for the most accurate results.

Once the sample reaches the clinic it is placed in the fridge until our registered veterinary technician, Pam Kitching, can run the sample in house. Ideally, the sample is run the same day it was received and there are different tests that can be performed. If looking for the presence of a parasite but not worried about how much of a burden, then you can do a Direct Smear Evaluation or Wet Mount. This is when you take a small sample of the feces and mix it with a little sterile water on a microscope slide, this slide is then viewed under the microscope and will tell you if there are parasites present but not the amount. The most common fecal testing for large animals is Fecal Flotation or McMaster’s Fecal Testing. Fecal floatation is when 2-5grams of feces is mixed with a solution until the feces are broken up. The solution is then put through a metal strainer to take away any larger pieces. Once through the strainer, the solution is put into a plastic vial and filled so that a cover slip can sit on top for 10 – 20 minutes, after the time has passed the slide is viewed under a microscope and a fecal count of the level of parasites along with the identification of parasite can be completed. McMaster’s fecal testing is very similar to fecal floatation however a chamber device is used to allow for a faster count and the fecal solution sits in the chamber for 10 minutes instead of a vial.

For the month of May, Upper Grand Veterinary Services is offering free fecal testing, all you have to do is drop the sample off at our Guelph location or give a sample to one of our vets for them to bring back to the office. After the sample has been tested you will be contacted with the results and next steps.

If you have any questions on these or other topics, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Veterinarians.


May 19, 2021 News

Angela lives in Guelph and graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2020. She discovered a passion for agriculture and veterinary medicine at a young age through spending time on friends’ farms and caring for her family’s dogs. Her interest in agriculture grew throughout her time in university and led her to work as a mixed practitioner after graduation. She joined the Upper Grand Veterinary Services team on April 12th and is looking forward to meeting and working with all of our wonderful clients. While Angela enjoys working with all livestock species, she has a special interest in small ruminants and backyard poultry flocks, as she has her own flock of copper marans! Over the past year, she has been renovating a century home with her fiancé Travis. In her spare time, she enjoys running, horseback riding, gardening, and playing the piano.


April 21, 2021 News

Upper Grand Vets are pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Tim Henshaw to our farm service team.  A 1979 OVC grad, Dr. Henshaw spent 3 years in mixed animal practice developing an interest in the development of Reproductive Herd Health Programs.  His resume looks like he can’t keep a job as he has worked for United Breeders, then Gencor and finally EastGen over the last 38 years.  4 years ago, Dr. Henshaw reached a milestone, having examined more than 1 million cows during his tenure in the AI industry.  Tim joins the Upper Grand Vets and will provide herd health services for some of the herds that he has served for more than 35 years and will be able to consult and troubleshoot as requested in other herds.  In addition, Tim will continue to consult with EastGen in youth events and public relations and as a member of the CDX Steering Committee. Tim and Dr. Rob Swackhammer are the biosecurity team at the TD 4H Royal Classic at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair #UpperGrandVets #TeachingOldDogsNewTricks


April 21, 2021 News

Access to daily test results yields information about your cow’s health. Milk is a body fluid that is a direct reflection of the cow’s metabolism. Besides SCC, the butterfat, protein and MUN are important indicators of the cow herds’ well being. Mother nature says that the cow’s first priority is maintenance, the second is production and the third is reproduction. We used to say that you have to “feed them to breed them”, but we know now that you have to “feed them RIGHT to breed them.”

Butterfat is an indicator of the cow’s rumen health. High butterfat means we have the right mixture of protein, energy, and fibre. A healthy rumen means we have a healthy cow. As a practitioner, I like to see a BF of 4% or higher. Lower than that we are concerned with acidosis resulting in lameness and poor production.

Milk protein is an indicator of dietary energy. The lower the dietary energy, the lower the milk protein. Low dietary energy results in excessive weight loss in early lactation. A cow that is properly conditioned at calving can maintain a high milk protein value as it reduces body condition. Once the dietary energy level matches production then the cow puts the body condition back on and then her milk protein level rises. I believe that 3.15% is the minimum milk protein value that will allow proper breeding results; if this gets any lower, cows show poor heats and do not have the energy to sustain a pregnancy.

Dietary protein will dictate production. If there is an excess of dietary protein, there will be high milk production but the cow will have a lower milk protein value.

This brings us to the MUN value. MUN is the milk urea indicator. All protein is broken down to urea by the cow’s digestive system. It circulates in the blood and gets excreted in the milk, feces and urine as ammonia, and reflects what is happening physiologically. We can measure urea in the blood as BUN. A cow can tolerate a MUN up to 10. Any amount above this is excreted from the body through the liver and takes PROGESTERONE along with it.  Progesterone is the hormone necessary to maintain a pregnancy! Common dietary protein is your alfalfa, soybean meal, canola meal or feed grade urea. Protein, by definition, is either soluble (digested in first 2 hours), rumen degradable or bypass. The key is to keep an even flow of protein available—so there should be 30-35% of each component. The cow’s rumen works much like a combine where a nice even flow of material for processing is available constantly. Slugs of feed result in wasting of some of it.

To recap, butterfat is rumen health (greater than 4%), milk protein is ration energy levels (greater than 3.15%) and MUN is ration protein (less than 10 MUN).  Natural heats and visible synchronized heats will be the result.

Final thought. The pregnant cows will calve whether they are checked or not. Finding your open cows and the cause of them being open is what keeps you profitable!


If you have any questions on these or other topics, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Veterinarians.