Heat Stress

What is Heat Stress?

Heat stress refers to a condition that occurs when the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature is overwhelmed by external heat and humidity. It can affect humans and animals, including livestock.

Heat stress in animals, including livestock such as cattle, horses, and poultry, occurs when their thermoregulatory mechanisms are unable to cope with excessive heat. Animals are particularly vulnerable to heat stress due to their limited ability to cool down through sweating or panting, especially if they are kept in Many Records Possibleconfined spaces without proper ventilation or shade.

Signs of heat stress in animals may include excessive sweating, increased respiration rate, elevated heart rate, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and in severe cases, loss of consciousness or collapse. Heat stress can have serious health consequences and can even be fatal if not promptly addressed.

Preventing and managing heat stress involves taking precautions to avoid excessive heat exposure, staying hydrated, seeking cooler environments, and implementing cooling strategies such as shade.

In summary, heat stress occurs when an animal’s thermoregulatory system is unable to effectively regulate internal temperature in response to excessive heat and humidity. It is important to take preventive measures and respond promptly to signs of heat stress to prevent heat-related illnesses and complications.

The Economics of Heat Stress

Some of the economic consequences of heat stress on your cattle and other farm animals:

  • During periods of heat stress, cattle tend to reduce their feed intake. This reduction in feed intake can lead to lower weight gain or even weight loss—essentially, backward development.
  • Lactating cattle experiencing heat stress may produce less milk, leading to decreased milk yields. This directly affects income and can result in financial losses.
  • Heat stress can negatively impact reproductive performance in cattle, leading to reduced conception rates, increased embryonic mortality, and longer calving intervals. This can result in fewer calves being born.
  • Heat-stressed cattle are more susceptible to various diseases and health issues, including respiratory problems and metabolic disorders. These health issues can lead to increased veterinary costs and reduced productivity.
  • Severe heat stress can lead to cattle mortality or morbidity, resulting in direct financial losses for farmers.
  • Heat stress can also affect the quality of meat, leading to lower carcass quality and decreased market value for beef cattle.

Whether you are supplementing tubs or free-choice mineral the addition of Sangrovit for heat stress to your Spring and Summer supplementation program will add 10-20 cents per day, per head versus a non-heat stress supplement. Over the course of a 5-month HEAT season, the additional cost would be approximately $15-30/head. 

Based on the many negative economic factors coming from heat stress, Super-Mol™ Tubs and Super-Min™ GoGro™ Mineral are great investments in your cattle.


Basics of Heat Stress in Cattle

Heat stress in cattle refers to the physiological and behavioral responses that occur when cattle are exposed to high temperatures and/or high humidity levels that exceed their thermoneutral zone. Cattle are more prone to heat stress because they are less efficient at dissipating body heat compared to some other animals. Heat stress can occur in both dairy and beef cattle, and it can have significant negative impacts on their health, well-being, and productivity.

When cattle experience heat stress, they may exhibit the following symptoms:

  1. Increased respiration rate: Cattle will pant or breathe rapidly in an attempt to cool themselves down.
  2. Excessive sweating: Cattle may sweat excessively as a means of dissipating heat, resulting in dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
  3. Reduced feed intake: Heat-stressed cattle often have reduced appetite, leading to decreased feed consumption. This can result in nutritional deficiencies and reduced growth or milk production.
  4. Decreased milk production: In dairy cows, heat stress can cause a decline in milk production, partly due to reduced feed intake and impaired rumen function.
  5. Reduced fertility: Heat stress can negatively impact reproductive performance, leading to reduced conception rates and increased embryonic loss in both cows and bulls.
  6. Heat-related disorders: In severe cases, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which are life-threatening conditions if not addressed promptly.

To mitigate heat stress in cattle, various management strategies can be employed, including providing shade and access to cool, clean water, ensuring proper ventilation in housing facilities, adjusting feeding schedules to cooler times of the day, and implementing sprinkler systems or fans to aid in cooling. Additionally, nutritional interventions such as providing heat stress minerals and adjusting the diet to maintain electrolyte balance can help alleviate the impacts of heat stress on cattle.

Heat stress minerals play a vital role in supporting the health and productivity of cattle during periods of elevated temperatures. Here are some benefits of heat stress minerals for cattle:

  1. Electrolyte Balance: Heat stress causes excessive sweating in cattle, leading to the loss of essential minerals and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Heat stress minerals help replenish these electrolytes, maintaining proper balance and preventing dehydration.
  2. Temperature Regulation: Heat stress minerals aid in thermoregulation by supporting normal bodily functions. For instance, minerals like selenium and copper are involved in enzymatic reactions that help regulate body temperature.
  3. Improved Water Intake: Heat stress can reduce water consumption in cattle, leading to dehydration. Certain heat stress minerals, such as sodium chloride (salt), enhance the palatability of water, encouraging increased intake and preventing dehydration.
  4. Reproductive Performance: Heat stress can adversely affect the reproductive performance of cattle. Minerals such as zinc, manganese, and selenium play important roles in reproductive processes, including conception, fetal development, and sperm production. Providing these minerals can support reproductive efficiency, even in hot conditions.
  5. Overall Health and Performance: Heat stress minerals contribute to the overall health and well-being of cattle, which, in turn, positively impact productivity. By supporting various physiological functions, including metabolism, enzyme systems, and antioxidant defenses, these minerals help maintain optimal performance even under heat stress conditions.

It’s important to note that specific mineral requirements may vary depending on factors such as breed, age, body weight, and the severity of heat stress. Consulting with a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist can help determine the appropriate heat stress mineral supplementation for your cattle, considering their specific needs and environmental conditions.





Heat Stress Ingredients from Phytobiotics

Sangrovit® is a phytogenic feed additive that supports the animal during heat stress so it can better respond to environmental stressors. Sangrovit® contains  Isoquinoline alkaloids (IQs), a natural extract from Macleaya cordata, which has been shown for more than 20 years to have an anti-inflammatory effect that supports gut health by promoting feed intake and supporting the digestibility of nutrients.

In addition, a study at the University of Melbourne, Australia, showed a reduction in respiration rate and rectal temperature in animals supplemented with Sangrovit®, which allowed energy to be channeled into health and performance rather than combating the effects of heat.

Benefits of Sangrovit®:

  • Increases Nutrient Absorption
  • Increases Feed Intake
  • Improves Intestinal Integrity
  • Increases Immunity
  • Reduces Somatic Cell Counts (SCC)
  • Improves welfare, due to the reduction of cortisol, a stress hormone
  • Provides more energy to use for performance and gut health, instead of fighting against disease or stress

Animals remain calmer and more focused on eating and drinking rather than combating stress.  By using Sangrovit®, cattle have a better chance to fight against the stress caused by the increase in temperature.

Basics of Heat Stress in Horses