Volcanoes are one of the natural resources that we must be grateful for because they are able to provide a fertile environment for agriculture and minerals. However, the negative impact of the volcano also must be aware. One of them is the potential for volcanic eruptions. On Saturday, December 4, there was an eruption of Mount Semeru which caused the death of dozens of people and damage to agricultural land in the Lumajang, East Java. In addition, this eruption also produces volcanic ash which has a negative impact on the respiratory tract both of humans and animals. Then how is the bad impact of volcanic ash on the respiratory tract of animals, here is the explanation:
What is volcano ash
Based on the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN), volcanic ash consists of small particles that are fragmented from volcanic rock with diameters less than 2 mm. The volcanic ash usually formed during volcanic explosions. This ash comes from avalanches of hot rock that flow down or red-hot liquid lava spray. The temperature of volcanic ash depends on the distance from the volcanoes. The type of ash appearance also depends on the type of volcano and the kind of eruption. The colours range from light grey to black. This ash could block the sunlight and reduce visibility. In some cases, the volcanic ash also could create complete darkness during daylight.
Effect of volcanic ash in pets
Based on The Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, volcanic ash is poisonous and highly abrasive to pets. Ministry of Primary Industri also says in their guideline that Volcanic ash contains sulfur and fluoride with a high content that can be toxic to stock and contaminate pastures.
What can we do
The impact of the volcano eruption is not only on humans but also on animals. There is some advice that the author collected from an animal welfare and environmental protection group to keep your animal safe during the disaster:
1. Keep pets indoors. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) mention that the public should be aware of their animal during this condition and keep them indoors. If there is a large animal, it should be placed in stables or any form of shelter.
2. Keep the pet food and water bowls clean. PAWS also suggested the pet owners clean the animal food containers and bowls to make sure they are free from ash.
3. The owner must be aware if there are respiratory problems in their animals. If your animal gets coughing, sneezing, and has difficulties in breathing it will be better if you call your veterinarian.
4. Clean your animal. Not only the food and place, but the animal also must be clean and avoid them from licking the ash.
5. Clean the animal’s surroundings, make sure to clean up the ashes from your animal shelter or cage.