Heat Can Lead To Toxic Water Sources

US - Hot weather, as many producers know, can cause problems for livestock. Even the best way to cope with the heat - water - can be hazardous when extreme heat sets in, said Larry Hollis, Kansas State University Research and Extension beef veterinarian.
calendar icon 27 August 2007
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Because of unusually hot August weather, with temperatures that soared past 100 degrees, parts of the High Plains could begin to see blue-green algae bloom on ponds or water tanks, Hollis said. This usually occurs in shallow, warm, slow-moving or still water that is high in nutrient content.

These conditions allow the growth of Cyanobacter spp., a form of photosynthetic bacteria, he said. Under the right conditions, there can be massive growth of the bacteria, which results in a "bloom."

"During a bloom the bacteria float to the surface and collect to form what is commonly called pond scum," Hollis said. "Wind will push this scum across the top of the water, concentrating the scum against downwind shores."

The problem with blue-green "algae" lies in toxins produced by the bacteria, which can affect humans and most domestic animal species.

"These bacteria are capable of producing some highly potent toxins," the veterinarian said. "Some affect the liver, some affect the nervous system and some cause severe skin or eye irritation."

Some of the toxins can be rapidly fatal. In some cases reported this year, cattle died within 30 minutes of drinking contaminated water, Hollis said.

Source: Midwestbullseye
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