03 May 2016

Optimizing Cat Health with High Tech Litterbox Monitoring

Elisabeth Zenger, DVM, PhD, DACVIM discusses how high tech monitoring of the litter box can be a useful tool in monitoring feline health. Learn more on pet ...

tonight we're speaking again about

optimizing clinical outcomes through at home patient monitoring looking at ways that veterinarians can empower pet owners their clients to be involved in the care and management of various diseases with that I'm pleased to pass the baton to my colleague dr. Zanger who's going to lead off our discussion tonight we're going to talk about is a high-tech litter box and when I first was that this booth at Western I was laughing like I am right now because I thought you know what is this world coming to but I got actually really excited about it because this does have a lot of applications and I started thinking you know I think I want to get one of these from my own household because it's amazing how much information you can get from monitoring what goes on in the litter box and so this is the company paleo and they have this product that basically collects and analyzes data from the litter box and it provides information about individual cats physiology behavior and activity what it is is basically a scale and it has sensors so the litter box sits on top of this little scale and it measures the caps weight as well as the waist

output also the number and the duration of visits to the litter box and also elimination behaviors whether there's straining going on and bearing and that sort of thing and so it collects all this data for some period of time and figures out what is normal for your cat and actually for multiple cats in the household and so you don't want to get this product when the cat is sick because then the information will be skewed to sick data so this is an ideal situation to have clients and get this one the Pettis healthier perhaps becoming more geriatric or if they have multiple cats in the household and they can't really keep track of everybody you know in my household I have one really fat cat not of my own doing that's how she came to me you know we've been trying to do weight control but it's hard because it's all very subjective I don't stand on the scale with her every day and so this would be really nice to be able to monitor her way to see how I'm doing but basically this is a wireless device it's placed under the litter box the data is collected and sent to the cloud and there's algorithms that are

developed to evaluate changes and trends and there's automatic 24-hour monitoring the client doesn't have to do anything they just set it up and that's it and then if there are certain things they're concerned about they can set certain alerts but then there's also automatic alerts so that if there's trends that are noted they will get either text or email or both and this is going to be encouraging frequent pet owner veterinarian communication and engagement and I think is going to empower our clients to feel like to have a better handle on what's going on with their pet and they can be alerted to real changes again it can be used in a multi-cat household so the paleo wireless device figures out who is who based on their weight that the onset and what their particular behaviors are those who cats weigh exactly the same and have similar behaviors and so it does work on a multi-cat household and it will work with most litter boxes I'm going to try not to get teared up when I was thinking about this initially but do you think about if you're at work and your male cat obstructs and goes into the litter box four or five times over

an hour period of time and you get this text at work and you don't want to finish your eight hour 10 hour shift because you need to get home and see what's going on with your male cat and that could be absolutely life-saving you came home six seven eight hours later you might have a cat it was very very sick potentially comatose certainly it could also detect the slightest much earlier than an owner's observation and so to me the litter box habits I think are really really important and brings that kind of emergent situation where you would want to get that text and say oh I got it I got to do something about this because something serious is going on alternatively there could be some things that are less urgent such as diabetes or renal disease but these certainly could be detected much earlier with this system than other indicators of disease such as a change in weight or appetite so you know sometimes i go to litter box i think gosh that's a lot of pee in there but really have anything objective to measure that on and this would once normals established for your healthy cat if things change six months a year later

then you're able to pick up on that because you're seeing that there is an obvious increase in the amount of urination and so I think that's a really really great application other applications in a multi-cat household it could tell you which cat has a diarrhea it could tell you who is eliminating outside of the box because for the longest time fluffy was going three to four times a day at this certain amount and all of a sudden fluffy is not going in the litter box anymore but you know that because Sparky is still going in the litter box normally and so that can tell you kind of right away who is the culprit in that behavior situation so I thought that was really cool so these are just some graphics of what can be produced so you can look at data over time up in the upper left is the number of visits on average for this particular pet so the six visits on average there's probably something going on during that period of time here's on the upper right is the graph that is measuring the actual weight of the waist measured in grams very very accurately and so you might notice in a constipation situation whether that volume starts getting less

and less and less or maybe it becomes more but with less frequency and so that could really alert you that you have potentially getting into a constipation situation and not only you graph it out for months at a time you can actually look at things on a very real time basis so you can generate graphs that are showing a lot of data or a little bit of data the company's marketing is more looking at the weight of the cat rather than the other applications that we've talked about and certainly that is very important as well if you're not dieting your patient and your patient is losing weight then that could certainly be an early marker of disease for a wide variety of diseases including hyperthyroidism gastrointestinal disease dental disease which would then cause them to not want to eat nearly as much diabetes mellitus and cancer we as veterinarians often time see cats come in very very thin and the clients didn't necessarily realize how much weight the pet had lost because we see a pet every single day you just really don't notice that and so this I think would be really cool for monitoring for disease and being able to

intervene quite a bit earlier the other thing that we don't really think about but with heart disease cats will retain fluid and certainly if the pet looks like it's actually losing weight or if there's a change in the body condition so they've lost a lot of muscle mass over their back but they're carrying a lot more girth in their belly that could be a very early indicator of heart disease so especially if the cat is gaining weight without looking like it's getting fatter then that would be certainly something to address as well again an earlier indication for intervention so I think a lot of these products and interventions can really empower our pet owners and that's going to really strengthen that bond between the pet and the client and endear them to their veterinarian and we'd all got into this profession because we love animals and we want them to live as long as possible in the most healthy way possible and so with the advent of all this technology we can really empower our pet owners and encourage them to intervene early and