Prepare Horses, Livestock, and Pets for Hurricane Season

Prepare Horses, Livestock, and Pets for Hurricane Season

It’s important for livestock owners who plan to evacuate with a trailer of animals to leave as early as possible. During hurricane evacuations, it is not unusual for routes to close to trailer and towing traffic.

Photo: Photos.com

As hurricane season gets under way, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM, is reminding livestock and pet owners to have a plan in the event of severe weather. Protecting your livestock—including horses—and/or family pet is an important task.

“As we saw last year during Hurricane Isaac, a significant number of cattle were lost because of flooding," Strain said. "If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to plan for how to care for livestock before and during a storm. This is something that takes careful preparation and must be planned for ahead of time. The state and local governments are here to assist but it is your personal responsibility to care for your animals.”

Cattle and horse owners should identify an area on their property that is least likely to flood and where livestock can quickly and easily be moved when a hurricane or other severe weather threatens the area.

“In the event an owner plans to trailer their livestock and bring the animals with them during an evacuation, it is imperative that you make arrangements ahead of time and know where you are going with those animals," Strain said. "Don’t assume the welcome mat will be rolled out if you show up with a trailer full of horses, cows, or even the family cat or dog."

It’s important for livestock owners who plan to evacuate with a trailer of animals to leave as early as possible. During hurricane evacuations, it is not unusual for routes to close to trailer and towing traffic. Strain also said to be mindful of the heat in the event you’re stuck in traffic: “Those conditions can add a lot of stress to your animals—both livestock and pets.”

Proper identification for livestock that are evacuated is crucial during a natural disaster.

Tips on preparing horse and livestock trailers:

  • Check tire pressure and rubber for wear;
  • Test brake and running lights; and
  •  Inspect the overall condition of the trailer.

Important items to take during an evacuation:

  • Health records (especially proof of EIA, or Coggins, testing for horses);
  • Sufficient amounts of food;
  • Any necessary medications or supplements; and
  • Halters and lead ropes.

Livestock owners who need assistance should call their local Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP). “Your local OEPs have a network of veterinarians and other trained professionals ready to help livestock and pet owners,” Strain added.

Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30.

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