Float tanks can give down cows a leg up

Flotation baths can be beneficial in helping down cows recover, says Jim Reynolds, of the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, Calif. A better response time is seen if the flotation bath is used early after a calving trauma.

A University of California-Davis non-controlled trial with 70 cows saw a 78 percent recovery rate for cows with calving paralysis.

Reynolds offers these tips for using a flotation tank:

  • Keep water at the cow's temperature.
  • Fill the tank so the cow stands in chin-deep water.
  • Keep the cow in the water up to 8 to 12 hours, then drain.
  • The cow either walks out or is moved to a bedded area.
  • Repeat daily until the cow stands.