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Cow Magnets

What is a cow magnet?Have you ever heard of this type of magnet? Actually, cow magnets are very popular with farmers, ranchers, and veterinarians since they are a well-known method of preventing hardware disease in cattle. So what's hardware disease? Cow Magnets Cow Magnets

About Hardware Disease

Hardware disease is a common term for bovine traumatic reticulopericarditis. It is usually caused by the ingestion of a sharp, metallic object. These pieces of metal settle in the reticulum and can irritate or penetrate the lining. It is most common in dairy cattle but is occasionally seen in beef cattle. It is very rarely reported in any other ruminants. It can be difficult to conclusively diagnose but can be prevented by the oral administration of a magnet around the time that the animal reaches the age of one year.

Causes of Hardware Disease

Cattle commonly swallow foreign objects, because they do not use their lips to discriminate between materials and they do not completely chew their feed before swallowing. Sharp metal objects (such as nails or iron wires) are a common cause of hardware diseases. The object travels into the rumen and is then pushed into the reticulum along with the rest of the feed.  In some cases, contractions of the reticulum can push the object through part of the reticulum wall into the peritoneal cavity, where it causes severe inflammation. In rare cases, the metal object penetrates the entire wall of the reticulum and can pierce the heart sac, causing pericarditis. Compression by the uterus in late pregnancy, straining during parturition, and mounting during estrus can increase the likelihood of the object penetrating the abdominal wall or the heart sac.

How to prevent the hardware disease?

A cow magnet is a kind of veterinary medical equipment used to treat or prevent hardware diseases of cattle. Traditionally, the cow magnets are strong Alnico magnets, in the shape of a smooth rod, about 1 cm by 8 cm (0.4 by 3.1 inches). However, today they are more commonly several ring-shaped ferrite magnets attached to a stainless-steel or plastic core, in the same shape as the single-piece original.  Newer designs to help increase effectiveness include a cage design, in which the magnet holds metal objects inside a protective plastic framework. Even newer designs include a stronger array of rare-earth magnets inside a stainless steel body that resembles the original Alnico design. A rancher or dairy farmer feeds a magnet to each calf at branding time; the magnet settles in the rumen or reticulum and remains there for the life of the animal. The magnet is administered after fasting the cow for 18–24 hours. This is most effective if done to the entire herd before the age of one. The cow magnet attracts such objects and prevents them from becoming lodged in the animal's tissue. While the resultant mass of iron remains in the cow's rumen as a pseudobezoar (an intentionally introduced bezoar), it does not cause the severe problems of hardware disease. Cow magnets cannot be passed through a cow's 4th bonivial meta-colon. Cow magnets are widely available from veterinary, feed supply, and scientific supply sources.


Thank you for reading our article and we hope it can help you to have a better understanding of the cow magnets. If you want to learn more about magnets, we would like to advise you to visit Stanford Magnets for more information. As a leading magnet supplier across the world, Stanford Magnets has been involved in R&D, manufacturing, and sales of magnets since the 1990s. It provides customers with high-quality permanent magnets like SmCo magnets, neodymium magnetsAlNiCo magnets, and ferrite magnets (ceramic magnets) at a very competitive price.

About the author

Cathy Marchio

Cathy Marchio is an expert at Stanford Magnets, where she shares her deep knowledge of magnets like Neodymium and Samarium Cobalt. With a background in materials science, Cathy writes articles and guides that make complex topics easier to understand. She helps people learn about magnets and their uses in different industries, making her a key part of the company's success.

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