State Urges Livestock & Pet Owners to Take Heat Precautions

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The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is urging livestock and pet owners to take precautions during this period of hot temperatures and high humidity. The combination can create a situation in which heat illnesses and even death are possible. Attached are guidelines to help protect your livestock and pets from the heat and the warning signs for heat stress.

Guidelines for Pet Owners to Manage Heat Stress

Dogs and Cats

Heat stroke can be fatal for pets.

Never leave your pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. Shade and water are a must. Anytime your pet is outside, make sure they have adequate protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cool water.

Limit exercise on hot days. Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears that are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws.

Recognize the signs of heatstroke. In case of an emergency, it's important to be able to identify the symptoms of heat stress caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian immediately. Some signs of heatstroke are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue and unconsciousness. If the animal shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps immediately to gradually lower their body temperature and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Follow these tips, and it could save your pet’s life:

Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.

Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or run cool water over them.

Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.

Consult your veterinarian immediately.

General Guidelines for Livestock Owners to Manage Heat Stress

Observe livestock frequently during hot days.

Signs of heat stress in goats, sheep and cattle are heavy panting, slobbering, lack of coordination and trembling.

Provide an abundant amount of accessible clean cool drinking water. Water consumption may increase by as much as 50 percent during periods of extreme heat.

Provide shade for animals and use temporary structures if needed. If kept indoors, be sure there is good ventilation. Use fans if necessary to keep the air circulating and animals more comfortable.

If necessary, use sprinklers or foggers to wet livestock to dissipate heat thru evaporation.

Consider feeding more at night rather than during the heat of the day.

Avoid the transport or working of livestock on hot days and if absolutely necessary transport or work livestock in the early morning hours.

Control flies and biting insects.
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