- Heat Stroke in Farm Animals
Heat stroke is a condition that occurs when an animal's body temperature rises too high. This can happen when an animal is exposed to high temperatures for too long or when they are not able to cool themselves down properly. This can be due to high humidity levels, a lack of proper ventilation or air conditioning, or inadequate water intake, among other scenarios.
What are the signs of heat stroke?
The signs of heat stroke can vary depending on the animal itself, but some of the common signs of this condition include the following:
• Breathing difficulties
• Collapsing or experiencing weakness
• Dark red or purple-colored tongue
• Diarrhea • Excessive salivation
• Glazed eyes
• Increased water intake
• Loss of appetite
• Panting heavily
• Rapid breathing
It's also worth noting that animals with darker coats, those that are young, and those with a history of illness or respiratory concerns are likely to be at a higher risk of developing heat stroke and its associated symptoms. Animals that meet these criteria should be monitored closely for any of the above-listed symptoms when outdoor or other conditions may place them at risk for overheating.
What should I do if I think my animal has heat stroke?
If you think your animal has heat stroke, it is important to act quickly.
The first thing you should do is move the animal to a cool place, whether this is a shaded spot or an indoor location with air conditioning. You should also try to cool them down by spraying them down with water or wrapping them in a cool, wet towel, depending on what works best for the size of the animal in distress. Additionally, trying to position them to catch a breeze, if outdoors, or the air from a fan will further help in cooling them down, but you'll need to be sure to continue wetting them to help lower their body temperature as the water evaporates.
If you're comfortable doing so, it would also be wise to take your animal's temperature to get a more accurate idea of just how severe the hyperthermia is. This information may also be useful when consulting with your animal's veterinarian, which you should do regardless of the severity of the heat stroke.
However, if you find your animal unconscious, whether you suspect heat stroke or any other condition may be the cause, you should call your veterinarian or emergency animal clinic immediately.
How can I prevent heat stroke in my farm animals?
Although it may be difficult at times when temperatures are high and humidity comes into play, there are still quite a few things you can do to help prevent heat stroke in your animals.
• Make sure your animals have plenty of shade and water throughout the day
• Avoid exercising them during the hottest part of the day
• If their fur is long, trim it (for applicable breeds)
• Do not fully shave your animals, as their coats do provide protection from the sun
• Check on them frequently to make sure they are not overheating
Additionally, for those who have cattle or poultry under their care, changes to feeding schedules may also be beneficial, as digestion tends to increase these animals' heat production. Feeding them during the cooler hours of the day, such as at night, can contribute to reducing the overall heat exposure these animals experience, further helping them avoid any risk of heat stroke.
If you are ensuring all of the above and still have concerns about the well-being of your animals, be sure to consult with your veterinarian for additional advice for your specific situation, especially if your animals have any health concerns that may be impacted by the heat of the upcoming summer.
Heat stroke is a serious condition, but it is preventable. By being aware of the causes and symptoms, you'll be able to stay one step ahead and keep your animals comfortable and healthy, and taking proactive steps to prevent heat stroke is essential for helping your animals safely endure the high summer temperatures.
At Happy Paws, we understand the importance of providing care for both indoor as well as outdoor pets and animals. Whether you're in need of farm-sitting services, pet-sitting services, or even overnight assistance, we're here to help provide you with the care and attention your animals need to stay comfortable and safe in the sweltering heat. Feel free to contact us today for more information!