Lead issues are widespread and can affect so many areas, industries, and people. According to Drovers, lead poisoning might even be inside our cattle.
“Lead poisoning is the number one poisoning we diagnose in the diagnostic lab,” said Gregg Hanzlicek, the director of production animal field investigations at the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Over the last few months, the lab noticed many cases of newborn calves being diagnosed with lead poisoning after having gone to pasture.
Lead poisoning, in both humans and cattle, is difficult to find and can cause death relatively quickly. It’s important for agricultural producers to regularly monitor their livestock and any potential lead dangers.
Hanzlicek stated that one of the best ways to identify lead issues within a herd, unfortunately, is to find a dead animal. That usually is a good indicator that some poisoning was caused by something on or near the property. “Another sign is difference in behavior,” said Hanzlicek. “The calves or cows may stumble or stagger; they may become recumbent followed by convulsions.”
Hanzlicek added that blindness is often a result from cow’s being exposed to lead which is yet another symptom to look out for. As ABC news reports, dumping car batteries directly causes many of these lead issues for cows. A cow can contract lead poisoning if it licked an old car battery that has just been lying on the ground. It doesn’t have to be brand new car batteries to affect these cows, either.
Tony McGrady, Mount Isa mayor, said that batteries that were dumped 20 years ago could even cause problems for cattle. One battery that caused lead issues within the livestock might be even older than that. “Some people are suggesting it could have been started prior to the Second World War,” said McGrady.
Hanzlicek stresses that testing is a must when it comes to identifying lead poisoning in animals. “We typically like liver and kidney tissue sent in to determine the lead level,” added Hanzlicek.
For agro workers, and anyone else who wishes to be EPA lead certified, there are lead certification courses that you can take to prevent your property or area to become infested. Lead certification courses can be done digitally, via EPA lead certification online and there are also EPA lead certification renewal programs.
Protecting your property, family, yourself, and your livestock from lead is extremely important because of how dangerous it is. Enroll in lead certification courses and fight the hidden danger today!