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Review: Voyce is the wellness monitor for dogs that makes wearables vividly relevant

Jon Phillips | May 28, 2015
Even if you retired your Fitbit or Fuelband to a desk drawer long ago, you may still find room in your heart for another activity-tracking wearable. No, not for you--for your dog. The Voyce health and wellness monitor bypasses human biology entirely, and sets its sights on canis familiaris, a species with much less capricious technology habits.

To this end, the Voyce platform include a "vet view" that gathers up all relevant data, and exports it to PDF. You can then send the file to your pet doctor to provide him or her with a deeper level of diagnostic insights. Voyce says its technology is greater than 90 percent accurate when compared to a holter monitor or Televet. These unwieldy veterinary devices measure a dog's heart rate at rest, but just aren't practical for continuous, everyday use.

What trend data can really tell us

If you check your dog's Voyce data regularly, you may even be able to spot a developing medical problem. To this end, Voyce gives your dog a new voice in her own health and wellness effort.

For example, elevated heart rates can be an indication of pain, fever or infection. Elevated respiratory rates might suggest a heart problem or an issue with your dog's endocrine system. The Voyce platform also reports your dog's longest periods of uninterrupted rest. So, if you notice these periods are getting shorter over time, your dog may be suffering from arthritis, hypothyroidism or even cancer pain.

If you see sudden spikes or gradual upward swings in either metric, you shouldn't panic, but rather take the data to a vet who can triangulate heart and breathing rates with rest and activity data. Amanda Landis-Hanna, i4C's Director of Veterinary Medicine, describes a scenario: "If I see that resting respiratory rate jump from, say, 12 to 25, I know there's something that I need to have a conversation about. If the resting heart rate normally hangs out around 60, and suddenly jumps up to 100, 110, 120 — all of which are very elevated in a resting patient, but normal in a stressed-out patient in my hospital — that's important information."

The Voyce team is sensitive to turning pet parents into hypochondriacs, so the platform includes a library of professionally sourced articles on health, behavior and nutrition, among other topics. There's also a symptom checker tool to help users identify specific problems.

"What we've found with the pet parents who are using Voyce is not that they're trying to diagnose their own dog, but that they feel much more in tune," says Landis-Hanna, who's been a practicing vet for 13 years. "They're tracking trends, they're reading the articles and better educating themselves, so that when they go into the vet office, they feel they're speaking the same language. And a better educated client is generally more compliant, meaning if I can explain the benefit of blood work or X-rays, the pet parent will do those if they're able to, getting us closer to the diagnosis."

 

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