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Ammonia Toxicity in a Herd of Beef Cattle

Clell V. Bagley DVM, Utah State University


A Utah producer lost 22 out of 50 head of cows in May, due to ammonia toxicity. He used a liquid fertilizer tank to haul water to the cattle. He had done this for two years previously, and with washing out thoroughly, there had been no problem. But this time some fertilizer was evidently left in, mixed with the water and resulted in the toxicosis. He was just certain that it had been well cleaned out even this time (but there had to have been a significant amount of fertilizer still present to result in this severe of a toxicosis). Finally someone admitted that perhaps the hoses had not been flushed out—but even this would probably not have been enough to cause such an extensive loss.