Heat stress and dusty conditions are common challenges for cattle during the summer, and a typical method of alleviating these problems involves sprinkling cattle and pens with water. The effect of sprinkling water on the incidence of zoonotic pathogens has not been previously studied. Four pens of heifers (n = 41) were cooled using sprinklers, and four pens (n = 43) served as controls. Heifers were crossbred Charolais, with white and red hair coats. Sprinkling was initiated when cattle were on full concentrate feed (July). Fecal samples, hide swipes, and BW were collected on d 0, 28, 63, 95, and 98. Average daily gain, DMI, and G:F were calculated, and carcass traits were collected 36 h after processing. Performance data were analyzed as a randomized complete block design, and zoonotic pathogen data were analyzed using χ2 analysis. Sprinkling tended (P = 0.054) to increase the incidence of fecal Salmonella spp. populations on d 98, but simultaneously tended to decrease (P = 0.058) the Escherichia coli O157:H7 incidence on hides on d 98. The most prevalent Salmonella serovars in this study were Kentucky, Muenster, Meleagridis, and Cerro. Performance measures and carcass traits did not differ between treatments (P > 0.10). Under our conditions, sprinkling cattle with water did not affect the incidence of zoonotic pathogens in feces or on hides.
- Food Safety
- Zoonotic Pathogens