By Alex DeMetrick

BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — When livestock is livelihood, a blizzard is a very real threat to both.

Alex DeMetrick explains how farmers are preparing to get through this blizzard.

Farms with livestock face three main challenges when weather goes from merely cold to dangerous.

Dr. John Brooks is a large animal vet and former assistance secretary of agriculture in Maryland.

he says heavy snow often means moving animals inside to feed.

Water is more critical.

Many farms rely on streams and open water.

When it freezes over, “animals cannot survive without fresh water. Within a few days, 24 to 36 hours, they become dehydrated,” said Brooks.

Blizzards cam also hit a farm’s bottom line when snow blocks roads and tank trunks can’t get in to pick up a dairy’s milk, which ends up going down the drain.

But the worst loss is when heavy snows collapse barns and shelters, trapping and killing animals.

It happens in Maryland and it’s dangerous for all involved.

“A lot of fire companies are trained, still it’s a very difficult operation to effect. Both for the safety and recovery of the animals, as well as the individual trying to make that recovery,” said Brooks.

While farms get ready, veterinarians also say food, water and especially shelter are critical to keeping family pets safe this weekend.