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Remember to take care of animals in the heat wave

As the heat continues around the country, MPI is reminding animal owners to keep livestock and pets well-watered and with good shelter.

Farmers and pet owners have special responsibilities towards their animals during a heat wave.

MPI’s National Animal Welfare Coordinator, Dr Wayne Ricketts, says the measures required are “fairly basic common sense things such as making sure animals have enough water, are in shade and there is good airflow, as much as possible”.

“This applies to pet owners as well as farmers,” said Dr Ricketts, “and includes lifestyle block and horse owners”.

“Basically, you’ve got to think of the things that you as human would do during a heatwave – to get into shade with good ventilation and have plenty of water to drink. It’s all good common sense stuff, yet every time we have a heat wave MPI hears of animals being left without these things.”

He said special attention needs to be paid to more vulnerable stock or pets such as those who have recently given birth and their offspring and animals with pre-existing medical conditions.

Owners should also take extra precautions for animals with bare skin, short coats or no pigment in their skin, as they are more susceptible to sunburn. Breeds with short noses (brachycephalic) can’t regulate temperature well, and young, pregnant and lactating animals, or those with long hair or wool are also more vulnerable to heat stress.

For farmers it’s critical that sufficient water supplies are available for stock to sustain livestock’s water needs.

Dr Ricketts said MPI has some good information available online and on our Facebook pages. He is urging all animal owners to check it out.



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