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Equine Night Check: a 24/7 horse care monitor

Crowd-funded equine project could launch next summer

By Leigha Romahn, University of Guelph Agricultural Communications Student, for Farms.com

Equine Night Check, a newly launched crowd-funded project by Hamilton BioVet, could significantly reduce devastating medical issues in the horse sector, as soon as next  summer.

Night Check, which is designed to identify signs of colic, acute laminitis, or a horse cast in the stall,  could be particularly valuable to large-scale operations that have many horses to care for.

Meg Hamilton, founder and CEO of Hamilton BioVet, hopes Night Check, which recognizes multiple signs of distress in a horse, will  reduce the deaths from colic, which currently stands at 10 per cent of all horses.

Hamilton  decided to use her background in developing electronic technologies to create Night Check after losing her favourite horse to colic.

Here’s how it works. A small sensor about the size of a credit card, is attached to the horse by a special neck strap or break away halter. State-of-the-art software decodes the horse’s activities and can detect fluctuations in its body temperature and heart rate. If any such abnormal behaviour is sensed, a phone call or text message is sent to an automatically programmed phone number.

Sue Schnurr, operator of Windamere Equestrian Centre thinks this product would be extremely useful.

“Many colics happen throughout the night and time is important to help rectify a colic,” says Schnurr. “A new innovation like this could save many equine lives and give owners piece of mind.” 

Schnurr should know.  Recently, one of her horses colicked, and was found in his stall showing signs of colic when the last person locked up the barn for the night. Schnurr’s veterinarian said it was her fast acting decisions that saved the horse from surgery, and that if the horse were left to the morning he likely would not have made it. 

Hamilton BioVet has chosen crowdsourcing to develop this product. She and her team have come a long way and are pleased with the outcome, but still need donations to move forward to the commercial product. If successful, it anticipates full production by July 2015.

The device is expected to retail for less than $500. This price would include one sensor which is attached to the horse by one the halter or neck strap of owner’s choice, and one cellular interface which plugs into an electrical outlet to send signals to the programmed telephone number(s).

To read the full details about the potential of Equine Night Check, check out its product page: http://hamiltonbiovet.com/pages/equine-night-check.

 

Leigha Romahn grew up in the outskirts of Baden, Ontario. At the young age of eight, her parents registered Leigha in a horseback riding summer camp. From that day on, she loved working with and riding horses. She has participated in many equine events, rode in many horse shows, and she loves teaching young children about how to care for their horses. Her dream is to someday be the proud owner of a horse farm with many horses of her own. She is chasing that dream as Leigha is enrolled at the University of Guelph in her fourth and final year studying Bio-Resource Equine Management. This degree program has made her explore the equine industry and learn new and exciting things about the management of horses. This article is part of Leigha Romahn’s course work for the University of Guelph agricultural communications course, instructed by Prof. Owen Roberts.

 

 


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