two cows and calf

The Canadian Cow-Calf Health and Productivity Enhancement Network (C3H/PEN) is a network of herds from across Canada that reflects the industry.

It will provide benchmarking productivity information and estimate the prevalence of production limiting diseases within Canada. This surveillance network will also examine topics important to the cow-calf industry, such as antimicrobial use, animal welfare practices and biosecurity practices.

Scientists from the University of Saskatchewan, University of Calgary, University of Guelph and the University of Montréal are participating in this project.

Why does surveillance matter?

  • It informs future research
  • It identifies emerging problems
  • It provides estimates to support health and economic decisions

The project is proudly funded by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC)


Publications from the Canadian Cow-Calf Surveillance Network


Lazurko M.*, Erickson, N.E.N., Campbell, J.R., Gow,S., Waldner, C.L.**, 2023. "Vaccine use in Canadian cow-calf herds and opportunities for improvement." Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

Fossen, J.D.*, Campbell, J.R., Gow, S.P., Erickson, N., Waldner, C.L.**, 2023. "Antimicrobial resistance in generic E. coli isolated from western Canadian cow-calf herds." Canadian Veterinary Journal.

Fossen, J.D.*, Erickson, N., Gow, S.P., Campbell, J.R., Waldner, C.L.**, 2023. "Producer attitudes regarding antimicrobial use and resistance in Canadian cow-calf herds." Canadian Veterinary Journal.


Waldner, C.L.**, McLeod, L., Parker, S., Campbell, J. 2023. "Update on copper and selenium in Canadian cow-calf herds — regional differences and estimation of serum reference values." Translational Animal Science. June 2023, txad062,

Fossen, J.D.*, Campbell, J.R., Gow, S.P., Erickson, N., Waldner, C.L.**, 2023. "Antimicrobial use in Canadian cow-calf herds." Veterinary Sciences. May 20;10(5):366. doi: 10.3390/vetsci10050366.

Johnson P., McLeod L., Campbell J., Rousseau M., Larson K., Waldner C.L. 2022. "Estimating the sensitivity and specificity of serum ELISA and pooled and individual fecal PCR for detecting Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in Canadian cow-calf herds using Bayesian latent class models." Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Vol. 9; 2022. doi: 

Publications from the Western Cow-Calf Surveillance Network

Johnson, P.*, Marfleet, T., Waldner, C.L., Parker, S., Campbell, J., 2022. "Seroprevalence of Mycobacterium avium spp. paratuberculosis in cow-calf herds located in the prairie provinces of Canada." Canadian Veterinary Journal. 63(12):1247-1251. PMID: 36467383; PMCID: PMC9648485

Waldner, C.L.**, Wilhelm, B., Windeyer, M.C., Parker, S., Campbell, J., 2022. "Improving beef calf health: frequency of disease syndromes, uptake of management practices following calving, and potential for antimicrobial use reduction in western Canadian herds." Translational Animal Science. 6(4) October 2022, txac151,

Wennekamp, T.R., Waldner, C.L., Windeyer, M.C., Larson, K., Trokhymchuk, A., Campbell, J.R. 2022. "Antimicrobial resistance in bovine respiratory disease: Auction market- and ranch-raised calves." Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2022 Jan;63(1):47-54. PMID: 34975167; PMCID: PMC8682930

Wennekamp, T.R., Waldner, C.L., Parker, S., Windeyer, M.C., Larson, K., Campbell, J.R. 2021. "Biosecurity practices in western Canadian cow-calf herds and their association with animal health." Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2021 Jul;62(7):712-718. PMID: 34219779; PMCID: PMC8218943

Waldner, C.L., Parker, S., Campbell, J.R. 2019. "Identifying performance benchmarks and determinants for reproductive performance and calf survival using a longitudinal field study of cow-calf herds in western Canada." PLoS One. 2019 Jul 18;14(7):e0219901. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219901

Waldner, C.L., Parker, S., Gow, S., Wilson, D.J., Campbell, J.R. 2019. "Attitudes towards antimicrobial use and factors associated with antimicrobial use in western Canadian cow-calf herds." Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2019 Apr;60(4):391-398. PMID: 30992595; PMCID: PMC6417609

C3H-PEN is seeking Canadian cow-calf herds to be part of our cow-calf herds to be part of our surveillance network. 

Our goal is to develop performance benchmarks and best management practices that meet the specific needs of diverse cow-calf operations across the country. 

What do you need to participate? 

• Commercial and seedstock cow-calf herds (minimum 30 calving cows
• Email access
• Relationship with a veterinarian
• Basic production records

What will you need to do? 

• Share production data
• Complete one survey each year (takes one to two hours to complete)

Questions? Contact: 

Jayce Fossen, Project Co-ordinator
306-966-7870 |

The University of Saskatchewan's Behavioural Research Ethics Board has reviewed and approved this study. 


The overall purpose of this initiative is to create an animal health surveillance network for the cow-calf industry within Canada.

This surveillance network would be a critical resource that could be readily accessed to provide very timely and efficient answers to a variety of emerging research questions. The network would collect vital baseline information on a variety of topics that are important to the national beef industry. These topics could include issues such as: 

  • biosecurity practices
  • economics of production-limiting diseases
  • animal welfare practices
  • antibiotic use
  • herd nutrition and management

The research will also utilize prevalence estimates and production parameters in economic models to measure the economic losses associated with various diseases in the Canadian cow-calf industry.

Animal health monitoring and surveillance programs provide critical information to key stakeholders in both industry and government in order to assist with the prevention and management of various disease risks. Diseases in the beef cattle industry can have significant negative impacts on the economic viability of beef operations, animal welfare, food safety, public health, and the environment. In many cases, policy makers in both industry and government have to make decisions about mitigating various risks with very limited available data.

Surveillance systems can provide quantitative evidence of the impact of management decisions and management practices on our beef operations and the extent to which producers are adopting practices such as animal welfare practices or health management practices. The estimates of production parameters that are established through surveillance may help to prioritize investment in research and risk management.

The importance of animal health monitoring and surveillance systems has been recognized in Canada with the formation of the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System which is an initiative of the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council and also includes broad-based collaborative support of industry and governments. All of these partners recognize the importance of animal health surveillance systems and have a shared national vision to have effective and integrated animal health surveillance in Canada.

This network is a continuation of a previous Western Canadian Cow-Calf Surveillance Network funded as a research project at the University of Saskatchewan.

This research project has been approved on ethical grounds by the University of Saskatchewan Research Ethics Board. Any questions regarding your rights as a participant may be addressed to that committee through the Research Ethics Office (; 306-966-2975). Out-of-town participants may call the toll-free line: 888-966-2975.


We are grateful for the financial support of our partners: 



Dr. Cheryl Waldner
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Saskatchewan


Dr. John Campbell
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Saskatchewan

Kathy Larson
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
College of Agriculture and Bioresources
University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Marjolaine Rousseau
Département de sciences cliniques
Faculté de médecine vétérinaire
Université de Montréal

Dr. Claire Windeyer
Department of Production Animal Health
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
University of Calgary


Jayce Fossen, Project Co-ordinator
Canadian Cow-Calf Health and Productivity Network (C3H/PEN)
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM)
University of Saskatchewan
52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK   S7N 5B4

Telephone: 306-966-7870