Magnets and Maintenance

Regarding the Reticulum


Reticulum photo credit

Today I will be writing about the last section of cow stomach, the reticulum.  The reticulum is easily recognized on account of its honeycomb-like lining.  This compartment is actively involved in rumination and also acts as a filter or trap for foreign objects that are ingested by the cow.  It is not unusual to find all sorts of things in a cow’s reticulum, from large rocks and gravel to pieces of wire and nails.  This is not necessarily harmful to the cow unless a sharp object like wire pierces the side of the reticulum, which can cause “hardware disease”.  Hardware disease is actually an irritant or infection of the diaphragm, affecting the heart or lungs.  This affliction can be difficult to treat, but can be somewhat prevented by keeping metal trash out of pastures and having routine maintenance done on any fences with metal like barbwire and/or nails.  Another way to greatly decrease the chance of hardware disease is to administer specially shaped magnets into the reticulum, so that any ingested metal will stick to the magnet instead of finding its way into the lining and piercing the digestive tract.  These magnets then stay in the reticulum for the life of the animal.  Conclusively,  the reticulum is an extremely helpful compartment that not only helps with rumination, but also keeps possibly harmful objects from reaching the other parts of the stomach, and ultimately the rest of the body.  So if you want a healthy cow, a reticulum magnet would be a good idea, and furthermore, just keep the pastures clean and have regular maintenance done whether or not your cow has a magnet.  It not only makes your land to look better, it also decreases the chance of your fences breaking and your cows getting loose.

To see what the reticulum and hardware disease look like, watch my video at