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This paper presents two methods for calculating the thermally induced stress, focusing, and depolarization in a pumped zigzag-slab solid-state laser. A computer program capable of detailed calculations of thermal effects in the general case is described. An approximate analysis of slab thermal effects in many cases allows calculation of these effects without use of the computer model directly. The analysis predicts that slabs of square cross section can be designed to have low depolarization and thermal focusing compared to Nd:YAG laser rods.