Water is essential to every living mammal and contributes to critical biological functions involving digestion, metabolism, absorption, milk production, sweat and urination to name a few. Water can also act as a thermo regulator or buffer, helping the body retain heat in cold weather and shed heat during warm weather. But one of the key attributes of proper hydration is the impact water has on cellular function… the cornerstone of all physiologic systems. Water is the primary transport vehicle for nutrients like vitamins, minerals and energy into the cells but also works to remove waste products and toxins. This concept and functionality is just as true for the dam as much as it is for the fetus since water is transported from the dam to the fetus through amniotic fluid.
Nutrient supplementation for the heat stressed cow is vital to recovery and optimized health, although, success in nutrient supplementation can be impacted by water, hydration status and cellular health. Providing access to abundant, quality water without restriction is important when managing heat stress.