Swing in temperatures worries dairy farmers


Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - David Dycus

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. - We know humans can get pneumonia, but did you know cows can get it, too? It's that vulnerability that has one farmer concerned about the drastic change in temperatures.

Dan Clark's cows look healthy, but the unseasonably cold temperatures can bring a health risk. "Ultimately the young and the old typically have immune systems that are not vibrant as regular adults and healthy people or animals," he said.

A couple years back, several of his cows died of pneumonia. He said this week's roller-coaster of temperatures has him checking his cows more often. "The temperature change means that we have to be aware and on guard that they could have, start getting sick."

Luckily, his herds haven't gotten sick, but veterinarian Bonnie Jones said it's not uncommon for cows and other animals to show signs of the sickness now. "It's one of those things this time of year we certainly do see among livestock."

Clark is taking extra precautions by cleaning his facilities more frequently. He also put in more ventilation in the outdoor buildings. "Even though it's cold out, you still need ventilation For the barns that these calves are in so that they don't wind up having respiratory problems," Clark said.