Magnets can help prevent hardware disease in cattle herds

Cattle commonly swallow foreign objects, such as nails and wire, found in the field or their feed. These objects do not always cause problems, but they can cause a disease commonly known as hardware disease. Foreign objects ingested by cattle make their way into the animal’s rumen and reticulum. Sometimes, the animal’s body will push the objects into the peritoneal cavity, causing severe inflammation (hardware disease). In extreme cases, a sharp, metal object can damage the animal’s abdomen wall and pierce the heart sac, causing pericarditis. Typical signs of hardware disease are poor appetite, lack of movement and indigestion. If the animal’s heart is damaged, fluid can build up and cause abnormal heart sounds.