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Ways to capture and analyse animal health data

Ways to capture and analyse animal health data


If you’re looking to start or grow your farm, the first step should be monitoring your animals’ health and nutritional status on an ongoing basis to ensure maximum productivity, longevity, and quality of life for your livestock. But that can be easier said than done! Which technologies are best? Where do you begin? In this article, we’ll help you sort through the various options available in order to select the best system for you and your animals.


Wearable technology

All animals can be given wearables to track how healthy they are. We already know that sedentary lifestyles are a leading cause of illness in humans, but with more and more research being done, we’re now able to say that it’s also true for pets. Technology for capturing animal data is becoming more popular every day; it allows pet owners to monitor what their pets are doing on a regular basis, where they roam and even their activity levels. It’s easy for owners to feel out of touch with what pets do when not supervised. Wearable technology has taken care of that problem entirely by allowing humans to monitor their cat or dog 24/7 from a distance using smartphone apps and wearable devices.


RFID for Animal healthcare 

RFID tags typically get attached to an animal's ear and are about as large as a grain of rice. The tags typically hold information including a unique ID number and a time/date stamp. Depending on where an animal is located, RFID readers can automatically monitor and identify when, where and how often it uses certain areas. This data can then be accessed by farmers who might use it in their breeding or business strategies. Some countries have even used RFID tracking for microchipping live animals, giving pet owners information about illnesses or if they need further care. In New Zealand, for example, microchips are used with data bases to keep track of all farm animals in case they go missing.




Animal-Mounted Cameras

You can attach a small, high-definition camera (and sometimes even a microphone) to your pet’s collar, allowing you to not only keep an eye on them while they’re outdoors—but also record their outdoor activity. This is perfect for giving you peace of mind if they go out unsupervised, while also ensuring that you don’t miss out on any particularly cute moments! Animal-mounted cameras are becoming increasingly more popular as technology improves. There are many companies which sell cameras specifically designed for use with animals.


On-Farm Solutions

With new technology comes new solutions for capturing and analysing animal health data. Inexpensive sensor systems can be mounted onto barn walls, where they scan animals as they walk by. Data is wirelessly transmitted from sensors to a computer running customised software that can detect individual animals’ temperature, heart rate, location and even what type of feed was last ingested. Because sensor systems are easy to retrofit onto existing barns, farmers have flexibility in how they monitor their livestock on a daily basis, meaning there’s no reason not to keep track of your entire herd.


Data Analytics

Big Data is one of today’s hottest tech buzzwords, but for veterinarians it can be more than a talking point. Big Data has many applications in veterinary medicine, particularly when it comes to collecting large amounts of raw data from animals and using it in a way that benefits animals on an individual level. One example is a wearable sensor device that tracks cow movements to help predict foot or hoof issues before they become serious. The other side of Veterinary technology is dog owners wishing they could measure their dogs heart rate while sleeping! Here we have seen PetPace provide pet owners with technologies which can record their pets pulse at home through an affordable chest band.


Building a Data Infrastructure

The first step in collecting valuable animal health data is creating a unified system that can be easily accessed by many individuals. That's where a purpose-built database comes in handy. For example, if you are tracking animal weight information, you might build a database that only includes information related to weights (i.e., no food intake). These databases could potentially be shared or used as internal tools for individual farms or facilities as well. A good rule of thumb: The more limited your database is, the easier it will be for farmers to use and input accurate information into your program.

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