As the animal behavioral aspects of veterinary medicine have expanded we have become aware that animals can exhibit many anxieties and phobias. Many of these conditions can make life quite unpleasant for the pet as well as their guardian.
Animals are commonly stressed from significant changes in their environment. There is a very long list of potential stressors (people or pet changes in a home, noise as with fireworks or thunder, housing change, travel, genetics and owner attitude, etc.) Some of these stresses can be lessened if a change is anticipated and gradually introduced. When that is not possible medications and counter conditioning techniques can be very helpful. It is now considered inhumane to simply tranquilize an animal that may be exhibiting a condition such as separation anxiety or noise phobia.
Preparation of 4-H Animals For Fair:
Animals like people are more healthy with a minimum of stress. Changes in housing, noise, crowding, different food and water and unusual confinement or unusual exercise can all be stressful to animals going to fair. Stress can lead to poor performance or illness.
All animals going to a public exhibit should be innoculated against contagious diseases which they may be exposed to from other animals. The specific vaccine will vary with the species of animal and their prior immune history.
All fair animals should be in good physical condition, well groomed and conditioned for their event. They need to be free of contagious conditions and parasites. Their temperament must be compatible with the expected stress of exposure to multiple people and other animals.
If food or other changes are expected for fair time, all changes should be gradual. Make sure they are accustomed to eating and drinking from the type of container that will be used at the fair. If your animals are not accustomed to city water add a small amount of "clorox" to their home water before the fair.
Make changes gradually prior to the fair and have fun.
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