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118.772 Calf Medicine, Health and Management (15 credit)

Lecturers: Christie Balcomb BVSc, DACVIM (LAIM), Emma Cuttance BVSc, MVS(epi) PhD.

This course will help you increase your knowledge of the aetiology, epidemiology, management and prevention of calf disease. It will focus on a practical, cost-effective, but holistic approach to the evaluation of calf health, management and production both at a general level and specific individual farm basis.

Please note: Courses are revised following each offering. Details of content and assessment are subject to change between offerings.

What will you learn?

On this course you will learn:

  • a practical approach to the investigation and cost-effective management of large-scale calf disease problems.
  • to critically assess calf rearing environment, nutritional policy and preventative medicine regimes.
  • to construct cost-effective, individual farm management strategies, to address calf health, welfare and future productivity.

How the course works

This course is taught via distance learning (you may know it as continuing education, distance education or continuing professional development) by a recognised international expert in her field. In this course, you will use a mixture of provided information, textbooks, literature, and online sessions to support and consolidate your learning.

Your lecturers

Christie graduated from Massey University in 2011 and began work with the Farm Services Department. She undertook an internship in Ruminant Health and Reproduction at North Carolina State University in 2013, and went on to complete a residency and become boarded in Large Animal Internal Medicine with an emphasis on livestock from the University of California Davis in 2016. Christie’s special interests include intensive care and management of pregnancy toxaemia and urolithiasis in small ruminants, as well as management of infectious disease of neonatal ruminants. Following her residency, Christie moved to the island of Maui in Hawaii and now practices mixed animal veterinary medicine.

Emma is a 2008 Massey graduate and is a dairy vet who has transitioned into a being a researcher. She has spent the vast majority of her career co-developing from scratch and running VetEnt Research (a division of Veterinary Enterprises Group Ltd) and is based in the Waikato NZ. Emma completed her PhD on Mortality and failure of passive transfer of immunity in New Zealand dairy calves at Massey in 2019. Interested in all research on all species, especially if it improves animal welfare, Emma loves a good logistical challenge.

Course features

In-depth part-time study 24 teaching weeks spread over a 7-8 month period

Learning materials and facilities

  • Study guide
  • Electronic library access
  • 3 day workshop: face to face or an online option for some sessions

Learning community

  • MVM Commons community site 
  • Lecturer facilitated online case discussions
  • Social forum


  • Written case report
  • Portfolio of course work
  • Final assignment (online and offline components)

Course requirements

  • Internet access: you need regular access to a computer and the internet so you can participate in class discussions and assessments online
  • While the study guide will provide the main reading for this course access to one of the following titles is recommended:
    1. Veterinary Medicine, A Textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, and Goats. (2017) Eleventh Edition.  Edited by CONSTABLE, P. D., HINCHCLIFF, K. W., DONE, S. H. AND GRUENBERG, W. Elsevier Saunders, Edinburgh.
    2. Diseases Of Cattle In Australasia: A Comprehensive Textbook. (2019) Second edition. T.J. Parkinson, J.J. Vermunt, J. Malmo, R. Laven. MASSEY UNIVERSITY PRESS
      ISBN: 9780995102958

Christie Balcomb

Christie Balcomb

Emma Cuttance

contact WORKSHOP information

There will be a 3 day on-campus workshop held at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. The contact workshop is an opportunity for face-to-face time with your class and lecturer. Together you can build on the knowledge you’ve gained on the course through small group teaching, practical sessions and discussions of experiences in your own practice.

For the best contact workshop experience, we recommend that you attend in person. While attendance is highly-recommended it is not compulsory in order to pass the course. If you can’t make it in person you will be able to join some (non-practical) sessions live via the internet (we endeavour to record these sessions for review, but are unable to guarantee the quality of the recording).

Dates and Timings*

Enrolments open October 2019
Course start July 2020
Contact Workshop Check dates here
Exam period February 2021
Course end February 2021

 *Please note: You can still apply for enrolment after the due dates above.
Places cannot be assured after these due dates, but late applications will be considered as long as remaining places are available.

If you have any questions please check with the MVM office.

For more information on delivery and cost please visit the Massey University course site (detailed offering information for 2020 courses will be available from October 2019).

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