Help livestock and horses beat the heat as temperatures soar across the country

Media release date: 
Friday, 19 January 2018

With parts of Australia expected to experience heatwaves over the weekend, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is providing practical tips on how to help livestock and horses cope during hot weather.

AVA President, Dr Paula Parker said that much like pets, livestock and horses can also suffer from heat-related illness.

“During hotter days, it’s important that extra precautions are taken to protect them from heat-related health issues,” Dr Parker said.

Tips to keep livestock and horses cool are:

  • ensure water supply is high
  • ensure they have adequate shade and airflow
  • hosing them down can help
  • avoid any necessary yarding or work, especially during the hottest parts of the day and put off any routine husbandry procedures
  • often feed needs to be adjusted in the summer months. For example, horses can need additional supplementation to replace electrolytes lost in excessive sweating. Feed consumption can be lower on hotter days. Try feeding in the cooler parts of the day and speak to your veterinarian about adjustments to your nutrition program.

Signs of heat stress in livestock and horses include heavy panting, increased sweating, excess saliva, high body temperature, muscle spasms, restlessness and lethargy.

“If you see any of these signs, you should take action immediately in an effort to cool them down. For horse owners, particularly, if you notice signs of heat stress, it’s important you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible,” Dr Parker said.

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or media@ava.com.au.


The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

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