Category Archives: health

Dog and cat food gets eat-local, back-to-basics diet option

By Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Beamsville – Health-conscious Canadians know a low glycemic index (GI) diet with fewer processed foods is an effective way to manage weight. Now, a Canadian pet food company is applying those same priorities to pets.

Dan Stevenson, president of Ontario-based Boréal Pet Food, says the idea for a new line of cat and dog food came from a desire to go back-to-basics for Canadian pets.

He and his brother Hugh Stevenson, a veterinarian, have built a line of canned and dried food products for cats and dogs that use low-carb Canadian ingredients.

Stevenson spent more than 15 years in the pet food industry before starting his own line. He says he didn’t see enough pet foods taking a low GI approach for the average pet – and it was taking a toll on animal health.

“Too many pets are consuming high-carb diets because they’re eating food with high amounts of corn, wheat, rice and potato, and it contributes to skin allergies, obesity, diabetes and poor pet health,” says Stevenson. “Low GI foods slow digestion, keeping pets fuller for longer.” Continue reading

Wearable monitor for horses evolves from student project to global distribution

horse-wearing-a-device-2-webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

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Cambridge – A chance meeting through a marketing project at Conestoga College has led to the development of a wearable monitoring device for horses – similar to the popular Fitbits used by people – that is now in use around the world.

SeeHorse is both an activity monitor and a health tracking device that can track all of a horse’s vital signs, including temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate. And if something is not quite right, the system sends an email alert to anyone who needs to know about a change in the horse’s condition.

Once attached to a horse’s halter, bridle or on a belly strap, the device can be synced to a smartphone or tablet and the information it gathers around the clock can be seen in the accompanying app in real-time, or viewed later as historical data.

“Everything is automatically collected and stored according to date and time so data can be extracted in report format and emailed to as many people as you like from veterinarians, trainers and riders to owners and barn managers,” explains SeeHorse co-founder and competitive equestrian Jessica Roberts. Continue reading

Immunity for life

Solving one of the most harmful diseases in beef cattle

cattle-immune-response-facebook-englishBy Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – Natural selection has enabled all kinds of life forms to adapt to changing environments. Most recently, a University of Guelph professor has harnessed natural variation within the immune system to identify and breed immunity traits to find the healthiest animals.

Years of research has led Dr. Bonnie Mallard, professor and inventor of the High Immune Response (HIR) Technology and the Immunity+ Technology, to develop a testing method to identify animals with natural immunity and enhanced disease resistance. Continue reading

Canadian mobile device offers instant dairy cow health check

results-webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Queensville, Ontario – “A dairy farmer, an engineer and an accountant walk into a barn…”

That’s the setup for Dairy Quality Inc., a Queensville, Ontario-based company that prides itself on creating high tech solutions to meet dairy farming challenges. The company’s latest product is an innovative new device that gives dairy farmers instant updates on a cow’s health and milk quality.

With the RT10 device and Dairy SCC app, farmers use a mobile fluorescent microscope connected to a smart phone to test milk samples from individual cows. The device works with an iPhone app to provide real-time readings of specific health indicators, including somatic cell count (SCC), which is the most important indication of dairy cow health.

“Currently, dairy farmers across North America receive a monthly report from Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) that indicates SCC data,” says Chris Gans, Director of Sales and Marketing for Dairy Quality Inc. “Our product doesn’t replace that service, but a lot can happen on a dairy farm in 30 days. Dairy SCC offers farmers the ability to have more immediate information relating to the health of each individual cow.” Continue reading

A gut full of health

Emma Allen Vercoe Close-Up_University of Guelph_Photographer Martin Schwalbe_DSCF0262 - webBy Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – The key to better health is through our gut. At least that’s what Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, has concluded from her research on the human gut microbiota ecosystem.

It’s a big term but simply put, microbiota is a collection of microbes found within the gut. And those microbes are important, because they’re strongly linked to the overall health of a human or animal.

Dr. Allen-Vercoe’s latest research is applying what she’s learned about the human gut microbiota to pigs to enhance the gut system and improve the overall health of the animal. Because just like humans, better health means less disease and less antibiotic use.

“Our goal is to reduce the use of antibiotics in pigs,” says Dr. Allen-Vercoe. “If we can naturally improve an animal’s health by colonizing its gut with healthy microbes, the animal’s overall health will improve and reduce the need for antibiotic treatments.” Continue reading