Pets, livestock not immune to deteriorating air quality - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Pets, livestock not immune to deteriorating air quality

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As smoke rolls in from surrounding fires, people are finding it difficult to spend time outdoors, and if people are finding it difficult to cope with the smoky air it makes sense that there is a growing concern about our pets as well. 

Missoula Animal Control decided not to participate in the PetFest event on August 19 because they believe it would be a danger to the animals. Instead, they will be reducing their prices and staying indoors. 

Lately, veterinarians have been encouraging people to keep a close eye on their pets and keep them indoors as much as possible, but what about livestock? Cows, chickens, rabbits and other animals are often housed outside. 

For the most part, people agree that their animals have been able to tough it out, but others say there is still cause for concern. Especially if your income depends on the animals you raise. 

"Unfortunately when we have all this smoke in the air, and it's not as clean as it should be the animal's growth rate goes down," said Natalie Arnott, a 4H and FFA Member. "If they aren't gaining weight like they should, it means that the farmer and ranchers who make their living off these animals aren't going to be as well off as they should be."

Arnott and her fellow 4H and FFA members along with veterinarians have advised people to try their best to keep livestock and other animals in a barn or shelter with good air flow. 

If you notice your animal's eating or drinking habits change, or if they become sluggish or start coughing, you should talk to your vet. In some cases, they can administer breathing treatments that may help.

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