PTSD for Cattle

PTSD for Cattle

PTSD For Cattle. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. It is something we have all heard about from our men and women coming back from active duty. The traumatic stress can affect human behavior. The same is true for cattle after being attacked by wolves. Reinaldo Cooke, an animal scientist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences says they have been studying the affects of stress on cattle.

COOKE: We’ve done a lot of work trying to understand how any kind of stress, could be aggressive behavior can impact cattle production. Any kid of stress. A transport, a sickness. And we were able to find a pretty good ____ between high stress which translates into high cortisol which is a stress hormone into decreased pregnancy rates , feedlot gains, important traits for cattle production.

Cooke says they saw all these stress traits in cattle returning from summer grazing where wolves were allowed to harass or attack the animals.

COOKE: They were noticing decreased pregnancy rates, cows and calves were sicker and they kind of associated that with the presence of wolves in those public lands. So the hypothesis was that when you are having a wolf predation event the most direct way to access the kind of losses was via a predation only, a wolf killing or injuring cattle. But my interest was what was the prolonged effect of predation events on cattle.

He says they even wanted to check on the reaction of cattle that had never been predated by wolves. More on this fascinating study tomorrow.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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