Panhandle area experts explain heat stress in cattle

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 6:08 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The hot summer days in the Texas Panhandle raise concerns over cattle experiencing heat stress.

“With these 100 degree days, we’ve been seeing heat stress in our cattle, and so the typical way that our cattle shows heat stress is they will have increased respiratory rates, you might see them open mouth breathing, increased salivations,” said Jennifer Koziol, associate professor of Food Animal Medicine and Surgery, Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Koziol says there are measures you can take to help.

“The big things are to provide shade, increase water. Cattle will increase their water intake, water consumption in these high times. Then really trying to minimize movement of these cattle if at all possible,” said Koziol.

While most heat stress related cases with cattle are not severe, there could be more impactful, long-term effects.

“The amount of feed intake might be reduced for several days to a week after a heat stress event. Longer term stress effects that are hard to measure, but certainly reproduction can be affected in the beef cow side,” said John Richeson, professor of Beef Cattle Feedlot Management at West Texas A&M University.

Koziol says the sooner you see the symptoms, the better off cattle will be.

“The longer the duration of heat stress, and the more intense that heat stress is, our cattle will take longer to recover,” said Koziol.

As the heat continues, experts are reminding the community to care for animals that have no way of caring for themselves.