Despite their size, horses are surprisingly delicate animals, requiring a great deal of care and oversight to keep them healthy. Simple ailments such as colic, lameness or stress, can quickly escalate into life-threatening issues. Colic, is the number 1 cause of premature death in horses, causing 200,000 fatalities annually. Like many other conditions, it’s treatable if identified early, and acted upon quickly. The key is timely access to accurate data.
Biometric monitoring technology is not commonly used in equine care. While other elite sports have demonstrated the value of this approach, the equine world still relies on intuition and the perceptive skills of owners and trainers. V-PRO offers a unique solution to this problem, delivering smart equine monitoring in an easy-to-use system that takes the guesswork out of equine care.
V-PRO was designed in collaboration with equine veterinarians to meet their specific needs. Equine medical care is a demanding environment. Not only are the patients highly valuable, but there is also a deep emotional connection between owners and their horses, resulting in a need to deliver the best care affordable.
In providing excellent equine care, it’s vital for the whole team to communicate effectively. V-PRO facilitates cross-collaboration between veterinarians, and can extend to include owners/trainers. Records are logged against a horse’s unique identification chip creating a patient record in the system. In the hospital context V-PRO communicates minute-by-minute health stats with customisable alerts. The on-board ECG offers an excellent diagnostic tool, allowing cardio-analysis to be preformed anywhere. V-PRO can also be used remotely, to monitor horses on the farm, or in-transit to ensure the optimum performance at sporting events.
The interaction design encompassed all aspects of use, from safely fitting the wearable harness on the horse, to account set-up and app UI, including the adjustment of monitoring thresholds and management of alerts. Research was conducted with vets in Ireland and the UK to understand requirements and challenges. An veterinary advisory board was set-up to guide the design process. Contextual visits to equine hospitals were conducted to observe and document the process. Once initial prototypes were available, user testing was conducted with vets, technicians and admin staff to evaluate the ease of use of the solution and in particular the app interface.
V-PRO has transformed the vet’s potential to deliver timely and proactive healthcare to horses. It makes diagnosis of cardio anomalies faster and easier than ever before. The availability of data on-demand combined with active alerts and remote capabilities, streamlines clinical assessments and reduces workload. Not only does it change how the vet works, but it changes where they work. V-PRO allows the vet to monitor horses anywhere, either in clinic or on the farm, – so in many cases, sick horses no longer need to be transported to the hospital for tests. This ability to monitor on an out-patient basis increases the number of horses that can be treated and also creates a new revenue stream for practices ensuring their future viability.