Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Warns Low Temperatures Can Cause Cold Stress in Livestock, Pets

Jan 03, 2014, 17:20 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With extreme cold temperatures across the state, Agriculture Secretary George Greig today cautioned livestock and pet owners to take measures to protect animals from low temperatures that can cause them to suffer from cold-related stress.

"Owners must monitor their animals during these extreme temperatures, because livestock and pets can quickly become distressed," said Greig. "If your animals exhibit unusual behaviors that could be related to cold stress, contact a veterinarian immediately."

Greig said animals kept in temperatures below freezing are susceptible to hypothermia, which can result in frostbite in their extremities and life-threatening respiratory and heart rates. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, lethargy, low heart rate and unresponsiveness. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your animal is showing signs.

Animals should be moved indoors if possible. Ensure proper ventilation for animals kept indoors and have backup power generation systems in place should an electrical outage occur. 

Greig offered additional tips for helping pets and livestock animals including cows, horses, pigs, sheep and others deal with the cold:

  • Change water often to prevent it from freezing. Pets need water to prevent dehydration, which can contribute to hypothermia.
  • Protect animals from the wind.
  • Provide adequate clean, dry bedding.
  • Keep animals clean and dry to maximize the insulating properties of their coats.
  • Provide additional feed, including hay and grain, to livestock. Ensure it remains unfrozen.
  • Never leave pets in parked cars. Parked cars amplify the effects of cold weather.

For more information, contact a local veterinarian.

Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture