Milk Protein Could Aid in Chemotherapy Side Effects

Cancer patients often suffer poor appetite, weight loss, depression and diminished nutrition, all of which are detrimental to recovery.
( Canva )

One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients is weight loss due to loss of appetite. According to a study conducted by Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, lactoferrin, a protein most commonly found in milk, is shown help alleviate the metallic aftertaste side effect associated with this aggressive treatment.

“The prevailing symptom described by patients undergoing chemotherapy is a persistent metallic flavor or aftertaste, with or without food intake,” said Susan Duncan, Ph.D., R.D. at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Thus, cancer patients often suffer poor appetite, weight loss, depression, and diminished nutrition, all of which are detrimental to recovery, according to Manitoba Co-operator News.

After extracting lactoferrin from cows’ milk, researchers administered this protein to chemotherapy users as a dietary supplement and found that it helped reduce unpleasant flavors and even restored the appetite for many of the patients.

“Our research shows that daily lactoferrin supplementation elicits changes in the salivary protein profiles in cancer patients — changes that may be influential in helping to protect taste buds and odor perception,” said Duncan.

While October is typically associated with Brest Cancer Awareness Month,this dairy protein can be used to help relieve one of the negative side effects correlated to chemotherapy, a treatment used to help battle all forms of cancer.

Simple Calf Respiratory Scoring System

Winter is approaching, and respiratory disease remains one of the leading causes of illness and death in preweaned dairy calves. ( University of California-Davis )

Respiratory disease is the cause of 22.5% of deaths in unweaned heifers and 46.5% in weaned heifers, according to the USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS). For the survivors, a respiratory event early in a heifer’s life could result in lifelong lung damage that curtails future health and profitability. Replacement heifers that experience early life pneumonia are more likely to have impaired growth; delayed age at first calving; increased probability of having a difficult delivery at first calving; and premature culling, when compared to their healthier herdmates.

University of California-Davis researcher Amy Young said early detection and treatment of sick animals is important regardless of cause. “Often there are multiple causes of respiratory disease, such as a combination of viral and bacterial infections, along with various management and environmental stressors,” said Young.

Among a group of animals, individuals may be observed with varying severity and stage of disease. Diagnostic tests can be expensive, so caretakers should be trained to consistently assess an animal’s health status. To do so, UC-Davis has developed a simple BRD scoring systems as a way to standardize diagnosis across a large number of animals.

The UC-Davis scoring system assesses six clinical signs. When present, a specific number of points are assigned for each sign. A total score of 5 or higher classifies an individual as a BRD case.

  • Cough = 2 points
  • Eye discharge = 2 points
  • Fever (> 39.2oC) = 2 points
  • Abnormal respiration = 2 points
  • Nasal discharge = 4 points
  • Ear droop or head tilt = 5 points

“One of the advantages of this system is that a rectal temperature is not needed for every calf,” said Young. “Rectal temperature only is needed if the total score for the visible signs is 4. A fever could then tip the score over the cutoff of 5.”


UC Davis Respiratory

Researchers have compared the UC-Davis scoring system to a similar – but more elaborate – system developed at the University of Wisconsin. Validation of the simplified scoring system was performed by scoring 500 hutch-raised calves in parallel on both the UC-Davis system and the Wisconsin system. The Wisconsin system uses five clinical signs scored by level of severity. The UC-Davis system scored slightly higher in sensitivity (72.3% vs. 70.8%), while the Wisconsin system was slightly more specific (93.1% vs. 89.9%).

“At the end of the day, the best scoring system for a particular farm is the one that will actually be used on a regular basis to determine which animals are sick,” said Young.  “A simplified system that is easy to implement allows for the identification of sick animals more efficiently, thereby allowing them to be treated in a timelier manner. This has positive implications not only for the individual calf, but overall for animal welfare improvement.”

A printable version of the UC-Davis scoring chart, in both English and Spanish, can be accessed here. The scoring system also is available as a free, downloadable app.

The system was developed by researchers at the University of California (UC) Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Animal Science and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

First Aid Kits for Production Agriculture

Accidents on farms and ranches can be quite severe, and space in a first aid kit is limited, so it is important to choose items for kits wisely. ( AgWeb )

Complied by Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice

Most farms and ranches require multiple first aid kits due to the many types of jobs and the dispersed areas of work in a production agriculture operation. Not only is it important to have appropriate first aid kits on your farm or ranch, it is important that you and others in your operation understand basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Accidents on farms and ranches can be quite severe, and space in a first aid kit is limited, so it is important to choose items for kits wisely. Follow these guidelines when assembling a first aid kit:

Include pertinent personal information in first aid kits for individuals who have specific medical conditions. For example, indicate that a certain person has an allergic reaction to bee stings.

Include the contact information for the family doctor of each person working in the vicinity of the kit.

Remember that agricultural incidents may occur at night or in winter, so include items such as flares, flashlights, emergency blankets, and waterproof matches.

In an emergency situation, it is common for people to forget what they have learned in first aid classes, so include a first aid manual in each kit.

For the kits, use containers that are dust-free and water-resistant. Label the kits clearly.

Check first aid kits annually for expired products such as ice packs, heat packs, ointments, saline solution, and so on, and change the flashlight batteries. When you use any items in a first aid kit, replace the items immediately.

Larger first aid kits should be located at main farm or ranch buildings or in the home. Smaller first aid kits should be kept on major pieces of farm equipment and in vehicles.

The following items should be included in a large first aid kit:

  • Sterile first aid dressings in sealed envelopes, in the following sizes:
    • 2 in. by 2 in. for small wounds
    • 4 in. by 4 in. for larger wounds and for compresses to stop bleeding
  • Two trauma dressings for covering large areas
  • Small, sterile adhesive compresses in sealed envelopes
  • Roller bandages and 1 in., 2 in., and 6 in. cling bandages
  • Rolls of adhesive tape in assorted widths (to hold dressings in place)
  • Triangle bandages to use as slings or as coverings over large dressings
  • Antiseptic wash
  • Tongue depressors
  • Bandage scissors and heavy-duty scissors to cut clothing
  • Tweezers to remove insect stingers or small splinters
  • Splints that are 1/4 in. thick by 3 in. wide by 12 to 15 in. long for splinting broken arms and legs
  • Sterile saline solution
    • 8 fl. oz. for small kits
    • 2 qt. for large kits
  • Safety pins
  • Ice packs (chemical ice bags) to reduce swelling
  • A pocket mask for resuscitation
  • Three small packages of sugar for individuals with diabetes
  • Disposable rubber gloves and eye goggles
  • An emergency blanket

Note that dressings must be sterile—do not make your own dressings.

Farm first aid kits can be purchased through certain businesses and organizations. Click the links below to view kits and ordering information:

Specialty Kits

Injuries vary from job to job in production agriculture, so first aid kits should be tailored to the potential injury that could result from a particular job. Listed below are specialty kits and recommended items, in addition to the basic items outlined above, for inclusion in each kit.

Specialty First Aid Kits
Type of Specialty Kit Types of Injury Kit Items
Tractor/Combine Small wounds, minor or major bleeding, fractures, sprains, or severed limbs, amputation, or entanglement Basic first aid manual

Two triangular bandages (36 in.)

Antiseptic spray

Six large adhesive bandages

Four safety pins

Sterile compress bandages (four 2 in. by 2 in. bandages and four 4 in. by 4 in. bandages)

Roll of 2 in. wide tape

Two pressure bandages (8 in. by 10 in.)


Two rolls of elastic wrap

Five clean plastic bags (varied sizes from bread bags to garbage bags)

Amputation Amputation of a finger or limb Plastic bags of varying sizes (one large garbage bag, four medium kitchen garbage bags, and eight small plastic bread bags)

Closable container to store bags

Dressing Supplies Major trauma Sterile compresses (2 in. by 2 in. and 4 in. by 4 in.)

Gauze roller bandages (1 in., 2 in., and 6 in. wide)

Adhesive tape

Triangular bandage

Tongue depressors

Heavy-duty scissors

Chemical ice packs

Disposable rubber gloves


Tweezers and safety pins

Emergency blanket

Antiseptic spray

Fracture (for immobilization of an injured limb) Broken bone Wooden or plastic splints

Roll of elastic wrap

Tongue depressors

Pesticide Exposure (for use during pesticide application season or to keep in pesticide storage area) Ingestion of or contact with pesticide Emergency and poison control center contact information

Two 1 qt. containers of clean water

Ipecac syrup

Emergency blanket

Plastic bags


Disposable rubber gloves


Action Steps

Take the following steps to prepare for potential emergencies or accidents on your farm or ranch:

Get training in first aid and CPR. Contact the American Red Cross, National Safety Council, or local emergency medical service or hospital to locate trainings in your area.

Make specialized first aid kits for various areas of the farm or ranch. Follow the instructions above to assemble the kits and remember to restock the kit after use and to replace expired items annually.

For more information about preparing your farm or ranch personnel for an agricultural incident, click here to access the article “Basic First Aid” and here to access “Basic CPR.”