Animals can drink dirtier water than humans and remain healthy much of the time, but not always. Just like in humans, dirty water can result in a number of different common livestock illnesses. Your animals need access to fresh, clean water in order to stay healthy and hydrated all year round. Here is what you need to know about dirty water and your livestock so that you can help your animals thrive.
Why Can Animals Drink Dirtier Water Than Humans?
In the wild, and in pastures and turnouts, animals drink from all sorts of seemingly unsanitary water sources, such as ponds, rivers, puddles, and more. Since humans typically need to purify their water before they drink it, how is it that livestock can drink this water without getting sick?
The truth is that sometimes, animals can get sick from drinking this type of water. However, this generally only happens when the water has bacteria or feces in it. In general, animals in the wild drink from water sources that have dirt, minerals, and organisms that don’t cause disease in them. Since these are their primary water sources, they tend to build up an immunity to these organisms.
This is not always the case, though. Large amounts of animals using the same water sources can result in the spread of disease at a significant scale. This is due to pathogens that can appear in water that has been contaminated with discharge, feces, urine, and tissues, leading to many different water-borne diseases.
All animals need access to safe water sources in order to ensure that their nutritional needs are met and so that they can avoid disease.
What Happens When Livestock Drink Dirty Water?
All sorts of bad things! Animals can drink anywhere from 5-30 gallons of water in a day. If the water is dirty, this can cause them to get sick, impact their growth and reproductive abilities, and lead to production and health problems that can spread.
Some of the issues that can result from dirty water sources are as follows:
Many animals will refuse to drink water that they know is bad for them unless they are truly desperate. This can lead to dehydration. Some common symptoms of dehydration include: sunken eyes, dark urine, the skin “tenting” after you pinch it, and fever.
This goes along with dehydration. Especially during the hot summer months or after an intense workout, animals need to drink. Water can help reduce the impacts of heat stress on your animals. If the water is dirty, it is more challenging to help your animals cool down.
This is a type of disease that can cause significant reproductive losses in livestock. It is caused by the Leptospira bacteria, which can be found in the urine of wild animals. This spinal-shaped organism thrives in standing water. If your livestock is infected with it, they can develop a fever and may experience liver or kidney failure. This can also be transmitted from animals to humans.
This is another infectious disease that can result from your animals drinking from standing water sources. The organism that causes it, Pythium, is also known as “swamp cancer”. It can impact your animals’ skin and their digestive tracts. This disease usually isn’t diagnosed until it is quite advanced, resulting in a poor prognosis for any infected animals.
Also known as “foot rot”, this is an infection that is carried on the feet of animals and can contaminate any water source that they step into. This can result in chronic lameness. It can easily spread by entering cuts and other injuries on animals’ feet.
This illness spreads through feces, so if any feces gets into your water source, it can cause fever and severe diarrhea in any animals who drink it.
This disease can lead to many serious symptoms, from trembling to trouble breathing to convulsions and even death. Anthrax is highly fatal, and has been linked to shared dirty water sources animals use.
How To Ensure That Your Animals Have Clean, Safe Water
You can help keep your animals healthy and safe by ensuring that they always have access to clean, fresh water with a Bar Bar A non-electric automatic waterer. These connect to your water line, so that the water is always clean. The water does not stand in the waterer when your animals are done drinking, but rather, drains back down, so you do not need to worry about any of the risks associated with standing water.
Bar Bar A provides automatic waterers for all sorts of animals, from horses to cattle to llamas to wild game and more. Contact us today to learn more about our automatic waterers and let us help you keep your livestock happy and hydrated.
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