Mars Petcare announced the launch of Pet Insight Project, a three-year study of more than 200,000 dogs across the US to uncover links between pet activity, behavior and health. The announcement was made on April 5, 2018 at the North American Veterinary Community and Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Innovation Summit.
Through its pet tracker business, Whistle, and veterinary care practice Banfield Pet Hospital, Mars Petcare is looking to discover insights to enable a new era of proactive, preventive care for pets. Using machine learning, rich data science and veterinary expertise, the aim of the longitudinal study is to better understand when behavior may signal a change in a pet’s health and make it possible for pet owners to better partner with their veterinarian on treatment. The study will continuously capture behavior data from hundreds of thousands of participating pets and correlate that information with repeat wellness visits.
“Innovative projects like Pet Insight Project are exactly what this industry needs to drive care forward,” said Tom Bohn, CEO of the NAVC, in a press release. “Technology and big data are powerful tools that could radically alter how we deliver veterinary care. This notion of transforming veterinary medicine is the driving force behind NAVC’s Veterinary Innovation Council and the Veterinary Innovation Summit, and resonates strongly with our Summit attendees working hard to transform pet health.”
Pet Insight Project is one of the largest tech-enabled studies of pet health, in which participating pet owners agreed to have their pets take part in the study. One of the key focus areas relies on repeat wellness visits to Banfield hospitals, where veterinarians will update electronic health records with relevant health changes. These records will then be correlated with high-resolution data collected through Whistle Fit, a purpose-built wearable activity monitor. This combination of insights will be analyzed by data scientists and veterinary professionals to map relevant patterns of pet behaviors and movement with illness, to aid in more precise detection of ailments and, eventually, early warnings.
“We are undertaking this research to pursue a future in which pet health care is improved by data-driven insights that connect pet owners and veterinarians,” said Leonid Sudakov, President of Connected Solutions, the global ventures, genetics, data and analytics division at Mars Petcare. “This collaborative approach is a great illustration of how we are leveraging our unique business scale, science and data capabilities to deliver on our purpose: ‘A Better World for Pets’.”
Pet Insight Project is now enrolling participants across the US. The project is to collect and interpret the health stories of hundreds of thousands of pets over time. Dogs enrolled by their owners in Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plan will be invited to participate in the tech-enabled research. Participants will receive a free Whistle FIT Activity Monitor, a collar-worn pet tracker, built to capture behavior data and learn to classify a variety of movements that may characterize a pet’s overall wellbeing.
The behavior data collected and compiled into the Pet Insight Project database will be used exclusively for research purposes. All collected data will be anonymized for research, and Mars Petcare will never share participant information with anyone or provide access to personal data.
By Lindsay Beaton
While dogs and cats continue to reign supreme, the growth of the “other” pet space can’t be denied: 9.9 million homes own a bird, 6.2 million homes have a small pet (usually small mammals) and 5.7 million homes own a reptile.
By Lindsay Beaton
Pet owners with birds, small mammals and other types of non-dog/cat animals are demanding the best for their feathered, furry or scaly friends.