How to protect livestock in extreme heat

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture offered tips to protect and prepare livestock in deadly heat.
Cows in Tennessee stand in a field
Cows in Tennessee stand in a field(Tennessee Department of Agriculture)
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 3:18 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Extreme heat can be fatal to all animals, including livestock. Officials with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture offered tips to protect livestock from high temperatures.

Animals need more water during the heat, TDA officials said, so providing an abundant amount of water is essential to the health of livestock. TDA officials recommended providing more sources of water or water delivery systems for animals.

They also emphasized the importance of shade. Livestock animals are prone to sunburn on their ears, nose and other areas with pink skin, TDA officials said. Livestock can take shelter in trees or buildings. Installing fans, opening windows or adding roof vents can be added to increase airflow for indoor animals.

TDA officials offered additional tips and tricks to protect livestock in the heat:

Tennessee Department of Agriculture

“Excessive heat can lead to poor health or even death of livestock,” State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty said. “Producers should take extra precautions during the summer to reduce stress and support hydration for animals in their care.”

The next step TDA officials recommend to protect livestock is awareness of the warning signs of dehydration and heat stress.

Symptoms of heat stress include increased breathing rate, panting or open-mouthed breathing and drooling. Muscle weakness and lethargy are also warning signs that the animals need help, TDA officials.

Livestock who present these synonyms should see a veterinarian immediately. TDA officials recommend moving heat-stressed animals to shade and providing them with additional water. The animals can also be hosed down with cold water to help them cool off.

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