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VIDEO: Drought-like conditions threaten livestock water quality

While some parts of North Dakota have received ample rainfall during the early growing season, other areas have not and are experiencing reduced hay crops and lack of pasture regrowth. In addition, these areas are having water quality issues in places where rainfall is needed to refresh stock ponds and watering holes.

Poor water quality can impact livestock health negatively. NDSU veterinary toxicologist Michelle Mostrom says water sources should be tested for total dissolved solids (TDS), sulfates and nitrates.

Water with elevated nutrient levels also are at a higher risk for blue-green algae blooms in periods of hot, dry weather. Some species of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) contain toxins that can be deadly when livestock and wildlife consume them.

Many commercial laboratories and the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory provide testing for livestock water quality and specialized testing. The cost of a basic water quality test is approximately $25.

If concerned about livestock diseases caused by contaminated drinking water, contact your local veterinarian, the NDSU Extension veterinarian or the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at (701) 231-8307 orwww.vdl.ndsu.edu.

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