Once cattle are moved out of the path of wildfires, that may not be the end of worries about their welfare, which is why their status should be assessed daily, a team of scientists advises.
Exposure to extreme heat or wildfire smoke can result in long-term health complications, including problems with lungs, feet, udders and teats, skin and eyes, according to an essay from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis.
“Animals may stop eating after a few days to weeks when their status starts to deteriorate,” write authors Theresa Becchetti, Sheila Barry and Gaby Maier. Their essay is based on academic papers by UC Davis’ John Madigan, David Wilson and Carolyn Stull and South Dakota State University veterinarian Russ Daly.
Here are some things that ranchers should be aware of, according to the scientists.
The impacts of smoke inhalation can be long-term as well as immediate. Check for facial or muzzle burns or even a crusty nose as signs of an animal who likely suffered smoke inhalation. Here’s what to expect, according to the essay.
1-24 hours: Pulmonary edema. Fluid builds up in the alveoli (air exchange areas deep in the lungs) due to the irritant effect of smoke. Rapid, moist breathing and coughing will result. You may see some frothing at the nose.
Several hours to several days: The small airways deep in the lungs swell