Press conference hosted by the Minister of Home Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams re: the eruption of La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent – April 9, 2021. (PMO)

Barbadians have been advised that volcanic ash poses a potential danger to their pets and livestock and if there are heavy deposits on the island, animals should be protected.

Senior Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Mark Trotman, stated this earlier today during a press conference held at Ilaro Court.

“The ash is acidic.  It contains sulphur and fluorine, and of course, this is all dependent on the amount of ash that is deposited. Potential things like ulcerations, skin irritation, eye and nose irritation, inhalation respiratory issues and things are potential.”

“Animals need to be protected if there are heavy deposits of ash on the island.  If we do see heavy deposits, then you would want to make sure that your animals are covered. Livestock should be brought under shelter, pets indoors to prevent exposure to the ash, should it occur,” the Senior Veterinary Officer advised.

He continued: “We have to be cognisant of the effects of the ash dropping on feed, forage and water supplies for the animals. Heavy deposits of ash can cover pastures, …and feed storage areas. Contaminated feed … is inedible to animals; cannot be fed to animals. It can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, blockages, etc., so you would want to make sure that any storage facilities for feed and storage for forage are covered and protected from ash fall.”

Dr. Trotman also gave some advice in the event animals came into contact with the falling volcanic ash. 

“Hosing or washing eyes mouths, ears and noses to distribute it, so it’s really the ingestion issue that you really would be concerned about. If you do have real serious issues with respect to animals becoming ill, then you should seek veterinary attention, or contact the Veterinary Services Department. The number is 535-0220 or 535-0221,” he said.

fabian.belgrave@barbados.gov.bb

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