WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The app Tably uses a smart phone’s camera to examine several physical traits to determine a cat’s stress level.
- Things like the cat’s ear and head position can provide insight to their well-being.
- Experts think the app will help younger, less experienced veterinarians as well as cat owners.
Just what cat owners of the world needed — an excuse to take a photo of their four-legged friend.
A Canada-based animal health technology company, Sylvester.ai, developed an app that uses a phone’s camera to determine if a cat is feeling pain.
The app, called Tably, looks at certain physical factors to detect stress. The app scans the feline’s ear and head position, eye-narrowing, muzzle tension, and how whiskers change.
A 2019 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports found that the ‘feline grimace scale,’ or FGS, is a valid and reliable tool for acute pain assessment in cats.
“It helps human cat owners know if their cat is in pain or not,” said Miche Priest, Sylvester.ai’s venture lead. “We were able to train a machine using machine learning and a series of images.”
It’s not just cat owners that can benefit from the app. Dr. Liz Ruelle of the Wild Rose Cat Clinic in Calgary, Alberta, thinks it could assist young veterinarians, as well.
“I love working with cats, have always grown up with cats,” she said. “For other colleagues, new grads, who maybe have not had quite so much experience, it can be very daunting to know – is your patient painful?”
Experts say that while the app provides great insight, owners should be mindful of their cat’s whole body, including the tail, for additional clues about their well-being.
“Cats that are worried or scared will hold that tail really tight and tense to them. And then aside from that, there’s also just thinking about their behavior in terms of are they eating, drinking, toileting, sleeping like they usually do?” said Alice Potter of the RSPCA.
Source: Yahoo! News