Wires from tires that cattle producers use as feeding stations can cause hardware disease in livestock, according to veterinarians at South Dakota State University.
Dr. Russ Daly, SDSU extension veterinarian, said thin wires were found inside cattle carcasses during necropsies performed last spring. The source of the wires was deteriorating tire feeders.
Drs. David H. Zeman, director of the SDSU Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, and Jennifer Poindexter, the practitioner who treated the cattle, presented the findings at the annual meeting of the South Dakota VMA late last summer. They also published the findings in the February 2008 issue of "Animal Health Matters," the publication of the SDSU Veterinary Science Department.
Dr. Poindexter said the signs of illness in the livestock were vague. She received some reports of inappetence and abortions.
Dr. Daly recommended checking all tires on farms for signs of wear even if producers see only vague signs of illnesses. He said he would not discourage the use of tire feeders, but they should be in good condition.