The RiserTank and method of use provide a simple and better managed recovery process for Downer Cows.
Our current customers with their own RiserTanks tell us their Downer cow recovery rate achieved over their years of use is 80%.The comparative Downer cow recovery rate for using the Best Practice Nursing for Downer Cows is 55%.
How RiserTanks Work
The RiserTank uses the buoyancy of water, within a confined area to enable Downer Cows to stand & feed for longer than normal. The water effectively reduces their body weight by 50%. The cow stands bearing weight, so circulation, muscles, nerves and confidence all start recovering and healing. As well, the supervision significantly requires less time & labour input compared to current methods of “nursing”.
Results and Case Studies Overview
Overall, our customer outcomes, utilising the RiserTank and it’s methods, state a 80% recovery success. Our research has shown the recovery expectation for calving paralysis cases is best of all, with all recovered cases returning to milk within 3 to 7 days. Only the severe paralysis cases do not recover. These cases are diagnosed early with the RiserTank use and show a difficulty to stand at all on both of their hind limbs.The RiserTank system is also ideal for cases of pregnancy toxaemia, 3 day sickness, early* milk fever/metabolic and downer cows from slips on concrete.
In Brief: RiserTank Method of Use
Generally cows stand in warm water (35°C) for 6 to 8 hours then water is released to their knees to let them rest in upright sitting position. The confinement of the RiserTank enables cows to rest contently in the low surrounding warm water, keeping them warm with less muscle compression. The rest period can be a few hours during the day or overnight. To stand the cow up again, warm water from the instantaneous gas hot water heater refills the RiserTank and floats the cow up to such a height where by she can re-stand by herself again. When the cows/heifers are standing well enough and for long enough, especially with the released water, (no buoyancy) then you know they are right to be released. You can then open the RiserTank door and walk them out or lift out with the economy units. Most cases are released within 2 to 5 days.
The cows will generally indicate to you their ability to stand and level of comfort within the RiserTank System. The combination of the warm water and the confinement of the RiserTank provide a secure environment for the cow. The confinement stops the struggling to get up when resting and secures them well when standing, especially within water.
Warm Water Invigorates & Stimulates Appetite
The RiserTank has an efficient hot water system, pre set to 35°C and takes about 1hr 45 mins to fill & about 45 minutes to top up for re-floating & re-standing the cow. The warm water and the fact they are standing both contribute to appetite stimulation and their survival will.
Cow Diagnosis and Outcome Expectations
Short Term Recovery Cases
The RiserTank is often a good diagnostic tool for assessment of their grading or degree of paralysis or injury. Studies have shown that most recovery times are reduced – generally the majority of cows require between 1 & 3 days for a full walk away recovery. You can usually diagnose a cow’s condition within 10 minutes of placement in water. Most cows fully stand when lifted into the water, with full water.
Medium Term Recovery
The cows that bear weight well on the one hind leg and less so on the other hind leg (refer to video) generally will recovery within 7 days. Longer standing times seems to be very beneficial for these cases.
Poor or Long term Recovery Cases
The cows that cannot fully stand on both hind legs when in full level of water in the RiserTank generally have a poor recovery chance and prognosis.Their hindquarters tend to “bob” up and down in the water. The gas in the rumen keeps them buoyant and afloat. They are generally relaxed and accepting of their floatation.These cases are often recommended for euthanasia as prognosis is very poor.
(The attached RiserTank instructions of use written by Dr John Steinfort BVSc provide more comprehensive information on using the RiserTank to rehabilitate downer cows)
RiserTank Benefits Summary
- All the RiserTank features promote recovery and healing and stop the detrimental effects with traditional nursing and intermittent lift systems.
- Cows stand for much longer time periods, with minimal supervision.
- On Farm protocols shift to a focused attention to prioritise Downer cows with all the associated benefits.
- Customer feedback shows RiserTanks can save up to 80% of Downer cows & reduced labour inputs by at least 50%.
- Less cow set backs which translates into faster recovery for the animal, with greater success of saved lactations.
- Differentiates the cows that will not recover readily.
- Takes the hit and miss out of the recovery of downer cows.
- Standing in warm water invigorates the cow to eat and drink.
- Water provides buoyancy where effectively up to half their body weight is reduced when stranding in water. Their rumen gas keeps them afloat when rising to stand or if unable to fully stand when initially placed in the RiserTank.
- Stops cows from crawling and doing further muscular and spinal damage.
- Unable to get onto their sides or cast whilst in the RiserTank.
- Cows tend to want to survive and recover.
*Early milk fever explanation; We recommend a prioritised action for ALL downer cows. A milk fever case where the cow is struggling to get up for any length of time is detrimental to the recovery success of that animal. The value of having your RiserTank on stand by, ready for use in an appropriate location with access to water, power and LPG, is an important factor in your recovery success rate.
Note: Feedback from a post graduate vet attending a Large Animal Veterinary Hospital in California USA, cited a 90% recovery success rate using the RiserTank. Their recovery rate is in part attributed to the dairy farmer prioritisation given to downer cows and their management.