Pigs and poultry are particularly sensitive to heat stress as they lack the ability to sweat. Heat stress occurs when the environmental temperature and humidity rises above the point where the animal can release more heat to its surroundings than it is producing. With the hot summer months approaching fast, let’s look at the physiological response triggered by heat stress.
The physiological impact of heat stress on our animals is not purely linked to increased body temperature. Rather, the overall consequences of heat stress are impaired gut integrity, oxidative stress, Acid-Base imbalances, disruption in gut microbiota, neuroendocrine changes, reduced blood flow, energy production, suppressed immunity and impaired reproduction. As a result, the approach to managing heat stress must be an integrated approach involving both nutrition and management.