Animal Health

Livestock tolerating peat fires conditions

By Dairy News

Livestock are resilient to smoke including carbon monoxide and ash fallout from fires, Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer Charles Milne has advised.

The advice comes as peat fires continue to burn in the state’s south-west a week after they began.

Dr Milne said fire was a natural part of the Victorian environment, so it was likely livestock were exposed to smoke, ash and embers from time to time.

"The impact is typically short term and associated with the inhalation of smoke and ash during periods of intense exposure," he said.

"For animals that have not been burnt, there are typically no long term affects for health and food production."

Although, Dr Milne warned pets such as dogs, cats and horses are more susceptible to peat fire impacts.

"Dogs, cats and horses may have irritated eyes, which can be observed by lots of tears, and respiratory problems, which could include increased coughing or breathing," he said.

For livestock, open-air paddocks will reduce the build-up of gasses and their impact, but every property and species are different, so the levels of smoke exposure will vary depending on the day and wind conditions.

"When it is safe, move your livestock away from the active peat fire.

"Animal owners should seek veterinary advice if they are concerned that their animals are being affected by smoke or ash."