The much-needed moisture for crops can become a problem for cattle and other split-hoofed livestock. With rain-soaked ground, livestock sometimes cannot find dry ground, especially if they are in lots. This can cause foot rot and other hoof infections to rise.
Cade Moses, veterinarian with Spur Ridge Vet Hospital, said he has not seen an outbreak of water related illnesses, but he has seen some.
“The biggest problem is with animals that can’t get out of the mud, such as feed lots,” he said. “Most animals in pastures can find some high ground and get out of the water.”
He said livestock owners need to keep their eye out. Mark Brunner, owner of Cow Camp Feed Lot in Ramona, said he was doing just that.
“Having a few cases of foot rot is common but we have had a few more cases than last year,” he said. “It’s pretty muddy in the lots, but our cows in the pasture haven’t been affected.”
Summer temperatures have kept the problem at bay, Brunner said.
“It’s more of a problem in winter because the ground gets wet and the low temperatures don’t give it a chance to dry,” he said.
Nick Kraus, who owns 500 head of commercial beef cattle in rural Marion, said he has also seen more cases than normal.
“We usually don’t have any this time of year,” he said.
Kraus and Moses said the best treatment is prevention.
“Those who have livestock should make sure they always can get to dry areas,” Moses said. “There should be proper drainage and no standing water in pens at anytime.”
Shots or antibiotic feed will take care of most water-borne infection, Moses said.
“If the problem gets too out of hand or ranchers are seeing a large increase in cases, they should consult their vet,” Moses said.