This week’s heat wave is not only hard on people; it’s hard on animals as well.

Leah Clark is a Livestock and Feed Specialist with Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture.

She says like people we need to make sure animals have access to a good clean water supply as the temperature increases.

“The water they need increases, their needs almost double when it gets hot and good quality water is key. Another thing shade, animals need shade, we know its cooler in the shade and it seems obvious but they need ample shade.”

Of course, she says producers should also avoid handling or transporting cattle in the heat as it will add to the stress they are already feeling with the heat.

Livestock with dark, long or thick coats are more susceptible to heat stress and should be monitored more closely, keeping in mind that because of the heat cattle will alter their grazing pattern.

“Kind of an interesting note is that cattle they lose their excess heat primarily through breathing rather than sweating. So, they only sweat about 10% of what humans do. Breathing is the key thing to watch when looking for heat stress indicators in cattle.”

With temperatures well into the 30’s this week, hot dry weather may have also caused a buildup of TDS or nitrates in dugouts.

She says with that in mind producers should be monitoring for blue-green algae blooms in their water sources or dugouts and if they find anything restrict the animal access.

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