Picture of Vanessa Cowan

Vanessa Cowan BSc, PhD, DVM Assistant Professor Veterinary Biomedical Sciences

For non urgent consultations please email vanessa.cowan@usask.ca. For urgent consultations call 306-966-7382

Research Area(s)

  • Mycotoxin exposure in livestock, epidemiology of common veterinary toxicoses (lead poisoning in cattle, strychnine poisoning in dogs)

Academic Credentials

BSc (Honours) in Toxicology (Usask ’14), PhD in Toxicology (USask ’20), DVM (WCVM ’23)

Research Interests

Cyanobacterial toxins, ionophore toxicity in horses, falling disease in cattle, IVLE in small animal toxicoses, mycotoxins


Cowan, V., Chohan, M., Blakley, B., McKinnon, J., Anzar, M., and Singh, J. (2022). Chronic ergot exposure in adult bulls suppresses prolactin but minimally impacts results of typical breeding soundness exams. Theriogenology 197, 71-83.

Chohan, M., Singh, J., Cowan V, Munro, B.J., Blakley, B., McKinnon, J., Kastelic, J., and Anzar, M. (2021). Sustained low-dose ergot alkaloids minimally affect post-thaw sperm characteristics in mature and yearling Angus bulls. Theriogenology 176, 163-173. 

Chohan, M., Munro, B., Cowan V, Anzar, M., Blakley, B., McKinnon, J., Kastelic, J., Rivera-Acuña, F., and Singh, J. (2021). Feeding yearling Angus bulls low-level ergot daily for 9 weeks decreased serum prolactin concentrations and had subtle effects on sperm endpoints. Theriogenology 161, 187-199.

Cowan, V., Grusie, T., McKinnon, J., Blakley, B., & Singh, J. (2019). Arterial responses in periparturient beef cows following a nine-week exposure to ergot (Claviceps purpurea) in feed. Front. Vet. Sci., 6, 262.

Cowan, V.E., Neumann, A., McKinnon, J., Blakley, B.R., Grusie, T.J., Singh, J. (2018). Arterial Responses to Acute Low-Level Ergot Exposure in Hereford Cows. Front. Vet. Sci., 5, 240.

Grusie, T., Cowan, V., Singh, J., McKinnon, J., and Blakley, B. (2018). Assessment of ergot (Claviceps purpurea) exposure in pregnant and postpartum beef cows. Can J Anim Sci, 98, 688-700.

Grusie, T., Cowan, V., Singh, J., McKinnon, J., and Blakley, B. (2018). Proportions of predominant ergot alkaloids (Claviceps purpurea) detected in Western Canadian grains from 2014 to 2016. World Mycotoxin Journal, 11.2, 259-264.

Grusie T., Cowan, V., Singh, J., McKinnon, J., Blakley, B. (2017). Correlation and variability between weighing, counting and analytical methods to determine ergot (Claviceps purpurea) contamination of grain. World Mycotoxin Journal, 10.3, 209-218.

Cowan, V. and Blakley, B. (2016). Acute lead poisoning in western Canadian cattle – a 16-year retrospective study of diagnostic case records. Can Vet J, 57.4, 421-426. 

Cowan, V. and Blakley, B. (2016). Characterizing 1342 cases of veterinary toxicoses confirmed in Western Canada: a 16-year retrospective study. Can Vet J, 57.1, 53-58.

Cowan, V.E. and Blakley, B.R. (2015). A retrospective study of cases of acetylcholinesterase inhibitor poisoning in the coyote (Canis latrans) and the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Canadian Prairies. J Clin Toxicol, 5, 235. Cowan, V.E. and Blakley, B.R. (2015). A retrospective study of canine strychnine poisoning from 1998 to 2013 in Western Canada. Can Vet J, 56.6, 587-590.