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Study Explores Quality of Life for Dogs with Arthritis

Dogs with Voyce health monitors

Dogs with Voyce health monitors (i4C Innovations)

16 November 2015. The veterinary medicines company Zoetis is sponsoring a study of pain management and quality of life in dogs with osteoarthritis, using a mobile health monitor worn by the dogs. The 900 dogs serving as subjects in the study will wear the health monitor collar made by Voyce, known officially as i4C Innovations, a subsidiary of Intersections Inc. in Chantilly, Virginia.

The study expects to generate data on the ability of dogs to cope with osteoarthritis, a degenerative disorder brought about by deterioration of the cartilage surrounding their joints. Symptoms include deceased activity levels, stiff gait, and lameness, particularly in cold weather. Older dogs are most at risk of osteoarthritis, which can also be caused by trauma, abnormal development of hips or knees, obesity, or diabetes.

Dogs taking part in the study will wear the Voyce Pro health monitor, a device worn like a collar, for one year. The monitor uses non-invasive sensors to measure several health indicators: resting heart rate, resting respiratory rate, activity and intensity of activity, quality of rest, and distance traveled. The monitor connects via Wi-Fi to a pet health management system for pet owners, and the data are collected by veterinarians through separate database. Voyce says the device was developed by biomedical engineers and veterinary experts at Cornell University and elsewhere.

The Zoetis team will gather data from the monitors showing indicators of pain being suffered by dogs with osteoarthritis and its effects on their day-to-day lives. Those indicators include activity levels, intensity of activity, resting heart rate, and sleep disruptions, collected in the dogs’ home environments. “The ability to gather reliable information is critical when conducting studies, especially involving animals who may be in pain or struggling,” says Zoetis researcher Andrea Wright in an Intersections statement.

Intersections launched the Voyce Pro service for veterinarians in July 2015. The monitors themselves are available through veterinary hospitals. Zoetis offers several products to relieve pain in animals, as well as joint health products for dogs.

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