Patient Condition and History
Dottie, a 16lb, five-year-old spayed female Boston Terrier, was boarding at VetCare Harris Animal Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Her caregivers at the hospital noticed a gradual weight loss during her stay, despite her good health.
To examine the possibility that her weight loss was due to a caloric expenditure that exceeded caloric intake, Dottie was fitted with a PetPace smart collar to better quantify her activity levels and caloric expenditure.
Upon admission for boarding at VetCare Harris Animal Hospital, Dottie’s weight was 16.2lb. However, within a week her weight was down to 14.1lb. Dottie had no known medical problems, ate well twice daily, and was an extremely active dog.
Dottie’s daily activity chart showed frequent, high bursts of activity while boarding, even during the night hours, when the hospital was closed. This specific information was very helpful, since caregivers could not otherwise know about her activity patterns during the night hours.
The PetPace collar also measured the intensity of Dottie’s activity, in addition to the amount of time spent active. The chart below shows the relative amount of time spent in each activity level for the time period examined.
Dottie’s PetPace collar was equipped with a new feature that provides an Overall Activity Score – allowing easy comparison to previous time periods, and also benchmarking against other pets and across breeds. The score is based on a proprietary scale representing the combined calculated values of activity intensities, activity frequency and duration. Dottie’s overall activity score for the time she was boarding was 17.2 – one of the highest ever documented by PetPace. The typical overall activity score of healthy active dogs is around 11.
All Dottie’s other monitored and calculated parameters were stable and within normal limits, including pulse rate indices, respiratory rates indices, and HRV (Heart Rate Variability).
*Sample of data trends graphs showing normal and stable values for a hyperactive boarder dog with weight loss.
Another, still experimental, parameter measured by PetPace is VVTI (Vaso-Vagal Tonus Index) vs. pulse rate plot. Potentially a general marker of health and well-being, this metric was also normal for Dottie.
PetPace also provides an estimate of caloric expenditure based on the patient signalment (age, weight, neuter status, etc.) and activity data. This information helps pet owners and caregivers set and track activity goals and feeding regimens.
Following these findings, caregivers at the hospital increased Dottie’s food ration and she started gaining weight.
Weight control is closely associated with activity levels and patterns. Quantifying activity and analyzing various parameters, including intensity, duration, frequency and consistency, can provide actionable insights to pet owners and medical staff who are attempting to help their pets gain, lose or maintain their weight.
Pets who are very active, like working dogs or very playful dogs, may need increased food intake to meet their needs. Quantifying activity information together with caloric expenditure helps make this process more accurate, visible, and easily sharable with relevant individuals.
Moreover, activity analytical data plays a role in overall health assessment of dogs and cats. The ability to see the activity data in the context of other physiological indicators is a unique feature of the PetPace collar, separating it from all other dog activity trackers. In this case, the fact that all other parameters and indicators were normal and consistent helped the medical staff determine that the weight loss was caused by high activity levels and insufficient caloric intake.
Detailed analysis of activity data is helpful in controlling weight of dogs and also in overall health assessment. Activity data should be interpreted in the context of other health indicators and medical condition.
Dr. Asaf Dagan, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Canine and Feline practice), and PetPace’s Chief Veterinarian, noted, “Activity data analytics are instrumental for weight control programs by making the process more accurate, objective and data driven. However, this data has implications that reach far beyond trendy exercise tracking devices. Changes in activity or in weight may be associated with medical conditions and should be interpreted in the context of the health status of the pet.”
Dottie’s veterinarian, Dr. Brian Shaw from Tampa, FL, the owner of VetCare Harris Animal Hospital added, “Using PetPace collars in the hospital helps us evaluate our patients’ needs and wellbeing. It is one thing to see a hyperactive dog bouncing around, but being able to see objective, accurate data provides us with a more solid ground for clinical decisions, including caloric intake determination.”