In order to improve the diagnosis and treatment of downer cows, but also to make the work of the staff safer, important work has been carried out over the last few months at the CHUV’s Farm Animal Hospital and will be finalized in the coming weeks.
A new diagnostic and treatment tool
The acquisition of a custom-made Lexan glass pool, financed by the CHUV Fund, now allows for careful and methodical observation of the limbs of the affected animal during the flotation session. The design of this pool was achieved with the collaboration of many people at the Farm Animal Hospital (animal care workers, animal health technicians and veterinarians). The transparency of Lexan, which makes up the majority of the walls, will allow for a better understanding of the evaluation and beneficial effects of flotation on motility and animal welfare. The use of this pool could allow for faster and more accurate prognosis for non-ambulatory cattle.
The clinical interest and innovative aspect of a Lexan (transparent) pool is to allow precise observation of the animal’s movements during the pool session and to evaluate the effect of flotation on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. This information, in combination with the physical examination, laboratory analysis and evaluation of movement during the initial pool session will allow for a more rapid and reliable prognosis. The ability to observe each of the animal’s movements will allow for more personalized care.
The CHUV is one of the only veterinary hospitals in Quebec to offer a flotation therapy for the care of non-ambulatory cattle. Our capacity is limited, however the Lexan pool allows for a more detailed observation of the patient, which will provide a more rapid diagnosis, that could allow us to increase the number of patients treated.
The transparency of this pool will allow students and caregivers to observe and better understand the effect of flotation on the various musculoskeletal components of cattle.
In addition, research opportunities related to the use of pools for various conditions will be expanded. Among other things, it will now be possible to study in more detail the effect of flotation on pain experienced by the animals and the associations between flotation characteristics and cattle welfare.