Salt/Water Intoxication

Cattle problems.
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Lucky_P
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Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by Lucky_P » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:18 am

With the current heatwave that parts of the country are experiencing, just a quick note to remind everybody how important constant access to adequate water supply is for cattle.
Just had to deal with a real heartbreaker of a case.

Producer had penned 15 cows & fall-born calves in the barn on Wed night, and held them there 'til about noon on Thursday - 97F high/79F low that day, with high humidity - with no access to water overnight. Turned them out into a 2-acre lot with shade and water. 3 hours later when they looked, all 15 were dead. Brain sodium levels on the two I necropsied were in the range of 4200 ppm; normal range is 800-1200 ppm.

In those sorts of conditions, without constant access to water, cattle become dehydrated via urination and panting. When these dehydrated cattle were allowed free-access to water after their confinement, they really tanked up. Water crosses the blood-brain barrier much more rapidly than does sodium, so the elevated sodium levels in the brain 'sucks in' water so rapidly that the brain swells - and there's not much 'wiggle room' inside that bony cranium. Death ensued pretty rapidly.

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/toxic ... icity.html

Y'all make sure you keep plenty of water available to your cattle at all times.



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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by JMJ Farms » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:23 am

He should have known better....... But that's still a hard way to learn. Bad deal.
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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by greybeard » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:32 am

I remember another post from a year or so ago, in which a water line had failed and a whole herd died from the same cause after the water line was repaired. Sad.
It's definitely summertime now. At 10pm last night, it was still 91F here.
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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by Lucky_P » Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:04 pm

JMJ,
I 'work for' the referring veterinarian on these cases. He indicated that this client has lots of money, superb facilities, and is trying to do everything 'right'... but it sounds like cattle are a new venture for them. I'm not sure that they knew better.
When he called about the dead ones, he indicated that the owner was working other groups on the same farm when these died. I told him that working cows in temps in the upper 90s was not 'doing things right'.

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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by Kingfisher » Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:02 pm

greybeard wrote:I remember another post from a year or so ago, in which a water line had failed and a whole herd died from the same cause after the water line was repaired. Sad.
It's definitely summertime now. At 10pm last night, it was still 91F here.

So how would you safely rehydrate cattle in such a case?
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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by bball » Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:09 pm

Lucky_P wrote:With the current heatwave that parts of the country are experiencing, just a quick note to remind everybody how important constant access to adequate water supply is for cattle.
Just had to deal with a real heartbreaker of a case.

Producer had penned 15 cows & fall-born calves in the barn on Wed night, and held them there 'til about noon on Thursday - 97F high/79F low that day, with high humidity - with no access to water overnight. Turned them out into a 2-acre lot with shade and water. 3 hours later when they looked, all 15 were dead. Brain sodium levels on the two I necropsied were in the range of 4200 ppm; normal range is 800-1200 ppm.

In those sorts of conditions, without constant access to water, cattle become dehydrated via urination and panting. When these dehydrated cattle were allowed free-access to water after their confinement, they really tanked up. Water crosses the blood-brain barrier much more rapidly than does sodium, so the elevated sodium levels in the brain 'sucks in' water so rapidly that the brain swells - and there's not much 'wiggle room' inside that bony cranium. Death ensued pretty rapidly.

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/toxic ... icity.html

Y'all make sure you keep plenty of water available to your cattle at all times.



Lucky, trying to learn something here so please bear with me. So those 15 cows dehydrated in less than 24 hrs? Maybe 18hrs? Is it possible they were already starting down that road before being penned?
Also, with Na levels that high, would you see a change in behavior of the cattle? With humans, when Na dips low or exceeds normal range, we see some significant behavior changes? Very curious, thanks for the consideration
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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by Nesikep » Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:09 pm

Kingfisher wrote:
greybeard wrote:I remember another post from a year or so ago, in which a water line had failed and a whole herd died from the same cause after the water line was repaired. Sad.
It's definitely summertime now. At 10pm last night, it was still 91F here.

So how would you safely rehydrate cattle in such a case?

I would guess limiting their water intake so they don't overdo it all at once? Each gets 5 gallons or at a time and then has to wait a bit before going back for more.
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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by greybeard » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:54 pm

Nesikep wrote:
Kingfisher wrote:
greybeard wrote:I remember another post from a year or so ago, in which a water line had failed and a whole herd died from the same cause after the water line was repaired. Sad.
It's definitely summertime now. At 10pm last night, it was still 91F here.

So how would you safely rehydrate cattle in such a case?

I would guess limiting their water intake so they don't overdo it all at once? Each gets 5 gallons or at a time and then has to wait a bit before going back for more.

I think 5 gals might be too much to start, just a little at a time and not let them just stand there and drink their fill. Seems like the last time this subject came up, the advise given was allow them to drink about 1/2-1% of body weight, allowed an hour apart.
On a 1000 lb cow that would mean 10lb of water. Water weighs a little over 8 lbs/gallon.
I don't remember who was advising--Milkmaid maybe.

Not really something I've had to worry about--I got water everywhere.
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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by Nesikep » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:12 pm

I guess it depends on how dehydrated they are to begin with.. a gallon an hour seems to be impossible to control when you have a herd of them wanting water.

No idea if this would help, but what about salting the water a bit, or adding electrolytes? (this is not advice, it's a question)
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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by wbvs58 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:31 am

I wonder if there are predisposing factors to this sort of loss. I have not had any experience but have read stories of cattle drives where water points were dried up and they had to move on to the next and the cattle were off water for a couple of days. They have to be carefull to hold them back when they eventually get the smell of water, my understanding is the main loss in these circumstances is the cattle up the front getting trampled and drowned.

Maybe cattle on these long hauls become adapted to long spells without water, they are usually in lean condition. Lucky were these cows in good condition off prime pasture?

Ken

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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by Lucky_P » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:09 am

I don't have all the details... but my impression is that these were not hauled, had been on this farm for some time. I'm guessing they were penned away from water for 18 hrs, based on initial conversation with referring veterinarian - but he indicated, the next day, that the owners were changing their story- revising time frame down - guess they didn't want to admit/believe that their actions were responsible for the loss of their cattle.
I don't know how long they might have been without drinking before being penned - but it's been brutally hot/humid here lately - wife and I both came close to heat-stroking, ourselves, last Sunday putting in fly tags - and we started at 4:30am - but by 8:00 it was time to stop; had to let the calves hang around the barnlot & barn til evening and finish up then.

Limited access to water is what the literature says... but no definitive guidelines given....

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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by greybeard » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:33 am

wbvs58 wrote:I wonder if there are predisposing factors to this sort of loss. I have not had any experience but have read stories of cattle drives where water points were dried up and they had to move on to the next and the cattle were off water for a couple of days. They have to be carefull to hold them back when they eventually get the smell of water, my understanding is the main loss in these circumstances is the cattle up the front getting trampled and drowned.

Maybe cattle on these long hauls become adapted to long spells without water, they are usually in lean condition. Lucky were these cows in good condition off prime pasture?

Ken


Except in drought, they could get some hydration from forage, if allowed to graze along the way. That's a bit different from being penned up in barn or drylot.

LuckyP, You probably already know, but Merck has a little on this.
http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/toxic ... icity.html

Treatment
There is no specific treatment for salt poisoning. Immediate removal of offending feed or water is imperative. Fresh water must be provided to all animals, initially in small amounts at frequent intervals to avoid exacerbation of clinical signs. On a herd basis with large animals, water intake should be limited to 0.5% of body weight at hourly intervals until normal hydration is accomplished, usually taking several days. Severely affected animals can be given water via stomach tube. The mortality rate may be >50% in affected animals regardless of treatment. In small animals before the onset of clinical signs, the acute ingestion of salt can best be treated by allowing the animal access to water and closely observing it for several hours.
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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by Texas Gal » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:55 am

Folks down the road had the same thing happen earlier this spring. They depend on an electric pump for water in their pasture. Storm knocked out the pump and they didn't check on things for a day or so. When they fixed the problem, they lost several cows due to unrestricted access to the water after being dehydrated. They said they had no idea water intoxication was a potential issue.....hard lesson to learn.

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Re: Salt/Water Intoxication

Post by callmefence » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:33 am

Texas Gal wrote:Folks down the road had the same thing happen earlier this spring. They depend on an electric pump for water in their pasture. Storm knocked out the pump and they didn't check on things for a day or so. When they fixed the problem, they lost several cows due to unrestricted access to the water after being dehydrated. They said they had no idea water intoxication was a potential issue.....hard lesson to learn.



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This time of the year the place gets opened up. Everything has access to a reliable water source. Tanks (ponds) or running creeks.
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