Salt Block Study For Cows And Deer

(Photo courtesy Farm & Food Care Ontario)

Salt blocks shared by cows and deer are sites for transferring diseases like tuberculosis, according to a recent study.

Michigan University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health conducted the experiment that has garnered worldwide attention.

The meticulous study used paintbrushes to cover salt blocks with Mycobacterium bovis, the organism that causes tuberculosis. They found this organism can survive on salt alone for over two days in chilly, winter conditions. In warmer conditions, they survived for almost 24 hours.

To mitigate tuberculosis outbreaks, farmers should have secure fences to keep deer from mingling with cattle. If farmers keep salt blocks outside, they should be covered with a tarp at night.