In a bizarre case of irony, cattle in Texas are dying from drinking too much water.
During this record drought, it is no surprise that cattle in Texas and the Midwest are dying from lack of water. According to published reports, however, cattle in Texas are dying from too much water, a syndrome known as water intoxication.
Ranchers are moving their cattle from fields where the water tanks have dried up to ones where there is still water. Upon arrival, the cattle drink to slake their thirst. The problem is they drink too much, it throws off their cellular balance and they die within minutes.
Agriculture officials are quoted as saying that there are no hard numbers, but this situation is on the rise throughout cattle producing states.
Typically, cattle derive a great deal of their water from the plants that they eat. In Texas, as with much of the country, the ground is parched and the plants are withered due to the longest, most severe drought in recorded history. The cattle become extremely thirsty and, when they get to a water source, they drink too much.
Humans are also susceptible to water intoxication, but it is extremely rare. According to a 2007 article in Scientific American, a young woman died after an on-air radio contest. She displayed symptoms similar to alcohol intoxication, including disorientation, vomiting, and a headache.
The National Weather Service indicates that there is no end in sight for this drought. Therefore, the bizarre phenomenon of cattle having too much water during a drought can be expected to continue.