Barnyard Tips For Beating The Heat

By: Nick Bona Email
By: Nick Bona Email

Knoxville (WVLT) -- When its as hot as it has been, escaping the Sun's scorching ray's is a tall order.

It's even more difficult for farm animals.

In fact, according to the Department of large animal sciences at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, everything from Goats and Horses to Alpacas and Pot-bellied Pigs have problems beating the heat.

"Certainly they get just as hot as we do when they're outside and they aren't as able to tell you hey, I need to go inside where its cool," said Amy Plummer, a large animal clinician at the Department of Large Animal Sciences emergency vet clinic.

Since verbalizing is obviously an obstacle, there are some sign's you can look for to tell if the heat is getting to your barn yard animals.

"Sometimes they'll go down and can't rise because the heat has made them week," she said of the smaller animals.

You should keep a closer eye on horses.

Riding them when it is hot out could be a big mistake because they face even worse problems when the temperatures go up.

"It can cause them to colic," she said, referring to potentially fatal abdominal pain. "It can certainly cause them to have muscle enzyme types of problems. A whole array of diseases and sicknesses can happen if they get too hot."

There is a key to keeping your barn dwellers healthy.

Provide them with access to the shade, a large supply of water and think about yourself.

"If you don't want to be outside because it's too hot for you, it's probably just as hot for the animal," she said. "And remember, just because they are inside, doesn't mean the area they are in is cool. The inside of barns can be just as hot as it is outside."

Plummer recommends that you make sure there is good airflow in your barnyard shelter.

If there is not, fans and misters can do trick, but make sure they can't get to the cords.

Goats especially like to chew on power cords and don't know any better.

A few more tips include watching animals for sweating, agitation, and lack of an appetite, as they could be signs of dehydration.

If you are going to ride a horse, make sure you do it either in the early morning or late evening.

They dehydrate fast and riding them during the hottest part of the day could be dangerous.

If the horse is reluctant to walk, that could be another sign of a heat related problem.

Remember, barnyard animals don't pant like dogs, so it's even more important to keep an eye on them while the temperatures are high.


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