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Published: August 1, 2011

JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. — For tourists traveling into the mountains, altitude sickness can be an uncomfortable reality. The lightheadedness. The nausea. The vicious headaches.

Cattle, ostensibly, endure a similar fate. Each year, ranchers who raise their herds on the lush grasslands of the Rockies find that up to 20 percent can suffer from a form of high-altitude sickness, commonly known as brisket disease.

The illness, brought on by a lack of oxygen, which causes the restricting of blood flow in small arteries in the lungs, is particularly costly for ranchers. Experts who have studied the condition estimate that it kills more than 20,000 cattle across the West each year and renders many more unproductive. [Read More]