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Officials: Colorado cattle deaths caused by chemical in hay

The cattle were found on a rancher's property off Highway 94 near Schriever Air Force Base in El Paso County on Dec. 22 of last year.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A veterinarian in Colorado has said about 30 cattle died last month after ingesting high levels of nitrates on a rancher’s property near Schriever Air Force Base. 

The Gazette reported that Dr. John Heikkila of Choice Veterinary Service said on Monday that elevated levels of nitrates were found in at least one bale of hay eaten by the cattle.

Heikkila said the rancher, who was not identified, fed the cattle the same hay for two weeks before their deaths on Dec. 22.

RELATED: 30 cattle found dead in rural El Paso County, no criminal activity suspected

Nitrates can be found in livestock feeds and are common in fertilizers and explosives. It can lower the oxygen-carrying capacity of animal blood if consumed at high levels.

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