Saturday, October 1, 2022

Exposure to wildfire smoke has negative effects on cow’s health

The increasing frequency and size of wildfires in the United States over the past several decades affects everything from human life and health to air quality, biodiversity, and land use. The US dairy industry is not immune from these effects. The western state, where wildfires are particularly prevalent, is home to more than two million dairy cows that produce more than 25% of the country’s milk. a new report in Journal of Dairy Science® Investigates how dairy cattle in the western United States may be affected by unique air pollutants from wildfire smoke.

Principal investigator Amy L., of the University of Idaho’s Department of Animal, Veterinary and Food Sciences (Moscow, ID, USA). Scribell, PhD, explains that “evidence suggests that wildfire smoke events may result in significantly higher exposures to harmful compounds than those commonly found in non-fire urban air pollution conditions.”

Smoke from forest fires contains fine particulate matter, a known air toxin and a major source of air pollution-related illness in humans. “Fine particulate matter can be inhaled deeply into the alveolar recesses of the lungs, where it can induce inflammation, impair lung function, and be absorbed into the circulation,” explains Scheabil. However, the physiological responses of dairy cows to particulate matter from wildfire smoke have been largely unknown until now.

The research team observed a group of Holstein cows in Idaho during the 2020 Pacific Northwest fire season (July to September). The cows were exposed to ambient air quality, temperature and humidity, and researchers monitored milk yield and tested the blood for health status indicators. Based on the team’s set limit for exposure to smoke, the cows were exposed to particulate matter from wildfires for seven consecutive days in mid-September, which exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 24-hour average air intake. The quality was at a level of 10 to 23 times the range.

During the seven-day period of smoking, the cows produced less milk, which continued after seven days. Higher air temperature and humidity, combined with greater levels of fine particulates, altered protein and fat metabolism and reduced immune cell populations in the blood of cows. The balance of essential minerals in the blood was also altered in conjunction with increased temperature and humidity, as well as higher levels of fine particulates – possibly due to sweating or the body’s stress responses. The team noted that further research is needed to understand the causes and consequences of electrolyte imbalances associated with exposure to fine particles.

Respiratory problems are among the leading causes for non-hunting cow and calf deaths in the US, and decreased immune cell populations in the blood of cows may indicate a weakened immune response and, thus, increased susceptibility to infection. Might be possible. Along with decreased milk production in cattle exposed to wildfire smoke, the team’s findings highlight the implications for dairy animal welfare, costs for farmers, and the smooth functioning of the US dairy industry as wildfires age in the current era. continues to pose a growing threat. Climate change.

Story Source:

material provided by Elsevier, Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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