Water Quality


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Livestock FAQ

What are the signs of dehydration?

Signs of dehydration or lack of water are tightening of the skin, loss of weight, and drying of mucous membranes and eyes. In cattle, the eyes will appear sunken and dull. Dehydration in lactating dairy animals results in near cessation of milk production

How do I check for dehydration in my horses?

One way to check for dehydration in the horse is by skin folds. Pull the skin over the shoulder and hold a moment. Release and count the seconds until the fold disappears. On a dehydrated horse, the skin will stand for several seconds.

How will weather affect water intake?

Weather conditions may affect water intake and lead to problems such as urinary calculi (waterbelly). Cold weather may reduce water intake, which reduces water flow through the bladder and kidneys. This reduced water flow allows kidney stones to form. When desirable weather returns, water intake increases and urinary calculi problems are seen, primarily in males, because the stones have become too large to pass through the urethra. Any factor that reduces water intake can be a contributing factor to urinary calculi. Hard water does not cause urinary calculi problems, but it may be a factor if the hardness affects water palatability.

Where do I find more information?

More information on livestock water needs can be found at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/h2oqual/watanim/as954.pdf

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