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Natural Disaster: Animal Preparation and Response

Natural disasters affect animals as much as they do their human counterparts. The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) works with local, state, federal, non-governmental, and sector partners to help plan for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters that affect livestock and companion and service animals.

For natural disaster specific information, visit the resources below.

Winter Storms

Winter storms and cold weather can impact animal health as well as human health. Winter storms can be stressful to livestock. Wind chills and prolonged cold increases their need for shelter, food and water. Below please find resources that will help you prepare for winter storm events and guide you through the recovery process.

Winter Storms: Animal Health Considerations

Livestock animals may experience illness, dehydration, frostbite or hypothermia from extreme winter conditions. Monitoring animals for signs of cold-related illness or affects is important to maintaining animal condition. Cold-related illness signs may include extreme shivering, increased respiration, confused, erratic or clumsy behavior, chapped teats, white/pale waxy appearance especially on extremities (ears, tail), or sloughing of freeze-damaged tissue. If any of these conditions are suspected, contact your primary care veterinarian for assistance.


Drought & Extreme Heat

Drought events can often be wide-spread, persistent, and long lasting. Losses are as substantial as those from other immediate-impact disaster events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Drought causes losses to agriculture, and affects domestic water supply, energy production, public health, wildlife, and contributes to wildfire. To keep up with the current drought locations, extent and severity, visit the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Drought: Animal Health Considerations

Drought conditions can cause feed management issues, scarcity of water resources and subsequent heat exhaustion for animals. Monitor livestock for signs of heat related illness including rapid, shallow breathing, weight loss, elevation of the head to make it easier to breathe, drying of mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) and other clinical signs. If you need immediate livestock medical assistance, call your local veterinarian.


Wildfires

Wildfires affect America's farms and ranches, damaging and destroying homes, barns, agriculture production facilities, and livestock. Animals may be displaced and need temporary sheltering, feeding, and care. They may also be injured or deceased and need veterinary attention or disposal. Please refer to the information below to learn more about animal identification, livestock indemnity, and carcass disposal.

Wildfire Aftermath: Beef Cattle Health Considerations

Smoke inhalation, burns and thermal injury, exertion, stress, and injuries suffered during escape can all cause longer-term effects on cattle that have survived wildfires. Some of the body systems that can be affected include: Lungs, Feet, Teats, Bulls, and Eyes. While a great number of surviving cattle will not show any long-term effects of a wildfire, cattle producers should be away of the potential of problems down the road. Learn more.


Hurricanes & Tropical Storms

Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause catastrophic damage along the coastline and for several hundred miles inland. Severe weather has the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and property, financial, and environment damage to local communities. Animals may be displaced and need temporary sheltering, housing feeding, and care. They may also be injured or diseased and need veterinary attention. Prepare now to protect your livestock and pets during severe weather.


Flooding

Tropical storms, hurricanes, and thunderstorms can cause flooding with little or no warning. Severe weather has the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and property, financial, and environment damage to local communities. Animals may be displaced and need temporary sheltering, housing feeding, and care. They may also be injured or diseased and need veterinary attention. Prepare now to protect your livestock and pets during flooding.


Tornadoes

Tornadoes can occur anywhere with little or no warning. Severe weather has the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and property, financial, and environment damage to local communities. Animals may be displaced and need temporary sheltering, housing feeding, and care. They may also be injured or diseased and need veterinary attention. Prepare now to protect your livestock and pets during severe weather.