COLUMBIA, Mo. — During the Missouri fair season livestock, their handlers and fair goers alike are at risk for heat-related illness.

Animals are particularly susceptible to heat stress during transport from the farm to the fair.

During transport, livestock may exhibit signs of heat stress such as panting, drooling or show a lack of energy. Handlers should take immediate action to cool the animal off when these symptoms appear.

Daniel Mallory, a Livestock Field Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, strongly urges owners to bring their animals to the fair during the morning when the air temperature is lower.

Ensuring that there is sufficient ventilation can also help animals cool down during transport. Owners should also consider using sawdust or sand on the floor of the trailer in place of straw.

Certain farm animals such as hogs cannot perspire, which leaves them vulnerable to overheating during fair season. Mallory suggests utilizing a misting system that is set for larger droplets rather than a fine mist.

Once the animals arrive at the fairgrounds, providing plenty of water and sticking to a regular feeding schedule are a necessity. The MU Extension strongly suggests placing fans around the cages or pens to provide cool, circulating air.

Karen Funkenbusch, a Health and Safety Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, also urges livestock handlers and the general public to take precautions during fair season.

She recommends taking frequent breaks and drinking plenty of water, both of which can help make the fair more enjoyable.

For more information and links to livestock heat stress guides, visit the University of Missouri Extension’s website.