VetTrue System UK Field Test

By Dr. Michael Hurley | Posted on December 16, 2020

Five years of intensive R&D by the Epona Biotec Team has paid dividends, and the new VetTrue System App is now available on the App Store. Designing a system for detecting fevers in horses created some initial issues when it came to field testing. During testing, it was simple enough to place a TailTab sensor on a horse in an equine hospital that already had a fever, but how could we showcase the sensors by demonstrating the development and detection of a fever in a normal horse? 

This problem was solved with the simplest of ideas from equine veterinarian Dr Matthew O’Donnell, Director of the Cheshire Equine Clinic.

It’s well known that following an Equine Influenza vaccination, some horses will develop a fever. Matthew’s idea was to simply place sensors on all the horses in a racing stable that were to be vaccinated, and then monitor what happened, comparing this to routine twice daily rectal temperature readings.

The results were very interesting!

As planned, a stable of horses had TailTab sensors attached one morning and then were vaccinated for equine influenza. After two days, the rectal temperature readings along with the TailTab sensor data was sent to Epidemiologist Dr Sarah Rosanowski for a statistical comparison.

Using traditional rectal temperature readings, the stable staff identified one horse on the first afternoon with a fever, and an additional four horses the following morning. In total, the stable staff found 30% of the vaccinated horses had developed fevers. 

When the temperature data from the TailTab sensors was assessed, it was found that 9 horses had developed fevers. The VetTrue System had identified that 56% of the vaccinated horses had developed fevers rather than only 30% as identified using rectal thermometers.

The trial demonstrated that the VetTrue System was practical to use and worked seamlessly when simultaneously monitoring the temperatures of a large group of horses. It also demonstrated that real-time 24-hour temperature monitoring is a more sensitive way of detecting fevers in horses than the traditional twice-daily rectal temperature method. 

In addition, the study was also of interest, as the percentage of horses developing fevers following vaccinations was a higher than expected. Such information is not only of importance to trainers and horse owners, but is also of  relevance to equine researchers who now have an accurate temperature monitoring system available to them for future studies and research. 

The results from this trial were considered of such value that they were accepted as a poster presentation for the World Veterinary Association Congress, in Auckland, New Zealand in 2020.

Learn more about the VetTrue System here.

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