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Study: Cows That Survive Wolf Attacks Suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms

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File photo of cows in a farm in Oregon.  (credit: Philip Schermeister/Getty Images)

File photo of cows in a farm in Oregon. (credit: Philip Schermeister/Getty Images)

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CORVALLIS, Ore. (CBS Seattle/AP) — Cows that survive a wolf encounter reportedly suffered symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.

A study by Oregon State University found the stress decreases pregnancy rates and increases the number of lighter calves and the likelihood of getting sick. Weight loss translates into a financial loss for ranchers.

KPTV reports researchers induced wolf stress by putting cows in a pen scented with wolf urine while playing recorded wolf howls on a stereo.

The study was conducted by Oregon State University animal scientists Reinaldo Cooke and David Bohnert. The study was funded by the Oregon Beef Council and published in the Journal of Animal Science.

“When wolves kill or injure livestock, ranchers can document the financial loss,” Cooke told the station. “But wolf attacks also create bad memories in the herd and cause a stress response known to result in decreased pregnancy rates, lighter calves and a greater likelihood of getting sick. It’s much like post-traumatic stress disorder – PTSD – for cows.”

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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