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EQUINE DISTRESS (THE PROBLEM)

Equine distress can present in many ways and stem from many factors including injury, trauma, illness, fear, and boredom. There are a number of common equine distress conditions including colic, casting, and foaling that can negatively impact your horse and result in serious injury or death if not detected and addressed early. 

+ How do I know if my horse is in distress?

The vital signs of a horse, coupled with its posture and actions/movements can directly correlate with their well-being and behaviors that are indicative of distress (eg, colic), trauma (eg, casting), other conditions where human intervention is warranted (eg, foaling). When a horse is experiencing colic and/or is cast, the animal will be in a distressed state as evidenced by measurable changes in vital signs (eg, heart rate, respiratory rate), posture (eg, lying down), and repeated characteristic motion patterns (eg, pawing, kicking, rising/falling, rolling +/- thrashing). When this occurs, human intervention is needed immediately to assess the severity of distress and establish a care plan.

+ What is the Equine Distress Index (EDI™)?

The Equine Distress Index (EDI™) is a new proprietary scale ranging from 0 (no distress = normal) to 10 (high distress = alert) used to quantify relative distress in horses.

+ What is my horse’s EDI™ score?

Your horse’s EDI™ score is an objective measure of their relative distress and general well-being at any given point in time. This score is computed using a fuzzy logic model (Multiple Inputs, Single Output) with multiple parameters including biometric and behavioral inputs, environmental conditions, pre-existing risk factors, and more.

NIGHTWATCH® (THE SOLUTION)

NIGHTWATCH® is an equine distress & wellness monitor (US patent # 9,629,340 ) designed to alert caretakers at the early signs of acute distress, such as colic or being cast, and offered in the form of an all-leather smart breakaway halter or safety collar. 

This revolutionary IoT-enabled device monitors real-time data on your horse’s vital signs and behaviors, works across cellular and Wi-Fi networks, offers GPS tracking, and adapts to your horse over time as the system learns their unique and normal patterns and parameters. All technology (eg, sensors, microprocessors, transceivers, batteries) is non-invasively embedded within the padded leather crown of each halter/collar making NIGHTWATCH® safe and comfortable for long-term use on horses in a variety of conditions. Insight is available on-demand 24/7 via a smartphone application and web dashboard.

NIGHTWATCH® smart halters and safety collars are designed to offer peace of mind.
They are not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.

+ When will NIGHTWATCH® be available and how much will it cost?

We are presently sold out of all NIGHTWATCH® smart halters and safety collars offered during our pre-order phase. Additional NIGHTWATCH® smart devices will be available for retail purchase soon (shipping in summer 2017) starting at $699.99 plus the cost of an annual monitoring contract/license equal to less than $1/day. All costs are represented in US dollars.

+ Will NIGHTWATCH® be available outside the US and Canada?

NIGHTWATCH® is presently available to horses domiciled within the US and Canada. However, we are working to make NIGHTWATCH® available in other countries/regions outside of North America by late 2017. Check back for more updates.

+ Where can I buy NIGHTWATCH®?

NIGHTWATCH® can be ordered online at nightwatch24.com or by calling customer care at 800-787-3856.

+ Why do I need NIGHTWATCH®?

Most horses spend a significant amount of time each day, especially at night, unsupervised in a stall or in a pasture when and where danger/distress (eg, colic, casting) can occur. For this reason, we invented NIGHTWATCH® to act as your eyes and ears to monitor horses when you cannot be there. It is our hope that the introduction of NIGHTWATCH® will allow for earlier intervention by caretakers resulting in improved survival and quality of life outcomes in many horses.

+ How does NIGHTWATCH® work?

NIGHTWATCH® uses a variety of sensors to collect data, real-time, on a horse’s vital signs and behaviors as they wear the halter/collar, while advanced software logic analyzes this data and computes a quantifiable measure of relative distress (ie, Equine Distress Index [EDI™] score) on a scale of 0-10. When a user-defined threshold of distress (ie, EDI™ score) is reached, the system will send a wireless alert notification to a caretaker or others via text, phone call, and/or email simultaneously or in a cascading fashion until the notification is acknowledged.

+ What vital signs does NIGHTWATCH® monitor?

NIGHTWATCH® uses novel radio frequency technology (ie, ultra-wideband impulse radar [UWB-IR]) to monitor a horse’s heart rate and respiratory rate, the two most important vital signs that correlate with acute equine distress/trauma. UWB-IR technology works much like sonar whereby the sensor measures the physical displacement (ie, expansion and contraction) of the microvasculature around a horse’s poll (ie, area behind their ears) for heart rate, while also assessing physical changes in the soft tissue of their upper respiratory region for respiratory rate.

+ What behaviors does NIGHTWATCH® monitor?

NIGHTWATCH® uses a variety of sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses, and altimeters to constantly assess a horse’s activity, motion, and posture. More specifically, NIGHTWATCH® identifies and flags (for evaluation) first-time novel events that may be indicative of distress along with known movements that likely correlate with distress such as pawing, kicking, flank watching, repeated rising/falling, extended periods of time lying down, violent rolling with/without thrashing, etc.

+ How does NIGHTWATCH® learn my horse?

NIGHTWATCH® is smart, which means it has technology that actually learns your horse’s “norm” (ie, biometric parameters, behavioral patterns) and adapts to them. Over time the system determines what good and normal looks like in your horse, thereby detecting unusual or novel events that may be early signs of distress. The more your horse wears NIGHTWATCH®, the more fine-tuned the system becomes to maximize precision and benefit for your horse.

+ How does NIGHTWATCH® notify a caretaker?

When distress is detected, NIGHTWATCH® sends a wireless alert notification to a caretaker or others via text, phone call, and/or email. The system will continue to send these alerts simultaneously to multiple people or in a cascading fashion (user configurable) until the notification is acknowledged. In addition, LED indicators on each NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar offer a visual reference of a horse’s relative distress state. Just look for a green indicator for reassurance your horse is within their normal and non-distress state.

+ Do I need Wi-Fi in my barn for NIGHTWATCH® to work?

No, you do not need Wi-Fi in your barn for NIGHTWATCH® to work. Each NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar is equipped with cellular technology (in addition to having the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network) that allows you to stay connected to your horse whether they are at home, on the road, or away at a show/competition anywhere in the US and Canada.

+ How do I know NIGHTWATCH® is working?

LED indicators on each NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar display the operational and battery state of the device. You can also log onto your account via the web or smartphone application and view the state of your device and horse at any time.

+ How is NIGHTWATCH® powered?

NIGHTWATCH® is powered by several rechargeable lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries, which are not the same as lithium-ion batteries that attracted negative attention in 2016. By comparison LiPo batteries are thinner, more lightweight, and safer than lithium-ion batteries, but do cost more to manufacture and do not have the same energy density.

+ How often do I have to recharge the NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar?

NIGHTWATCH® will need to be recharged every 3-5 days with overnight usage (every 2-3 days if used around the clock). Each charge cycle is estimated to be 3-4 hours. To conserve the battery, the device will automatically go into a “sleep” mode when it is not being worn by a horse. Each NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar has a magnetic charging port and comes with a UL-certified charging cable with USB wall adapter.

+ Can I use the same NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar on multiple horses?

Each NIGHTWATCH® smart device is adaptive and conforms to one particular horse over time. To maximize precision and benefit, proprietary algorithms are continuously being updated as each NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar learns your horse’s unique biometric parameters and behavioral patterns. Therefore, we do not recommend interchanging any NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar among multiple horses. However, if you do have a need to transfer a device between horses, system parameters can be reset and historical data transferred. NOTE: Once transferred, you will no longer have access to historical data on original horse.

+ Will NIGHTWATCH® work on broodmares who are about to foal?

NIGHTWATCH® can be used on broodmares because the system will detect changes in their biometrics, which is observed in 85-90% of broodmares during foaling, as well as changes in their activity, motion, and posture.

+ How can I view my horse’s data?

You can view real-time and historical data for your horse on a computer via a web dashboard after logging into your account at nightwatch24.com, or on your smartphone via our custom NIGHTWATCH® application.

+ How does NIGHTWATCH® locate my horse?

NIGHTWATCH® is equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) allowing you to pinpoint and track the location of your horse anywhere in the US and Canada. This is especially helpful for competition horses who travel often and for young horses who like to play and remove tack while turned out. In this latter event if the halter/collar is removed, GPS will allow you to locate and recover the device very easily.

+ I live in an area with low cellular signal. Will NIGHTWATCH® still work?

There may be some areas in the US and Canada with limited cellular (3G) coverage. Unlike voice transmission, we require only minimal cellular signal for transmission of data when not connected to a Wi-Fi network. For areas with insufficient 3G/GSM cellular data coverage (AT&T, T-Mobile, and regional providers), we recommend you have NIGHTWATCH® connected to a Wi-Fi network at all times as well as consider a wireless repeater.

+ What does the less than $1/day monitoring service and license offer me?

Each NIGHTWATCH® smart device requires an annual monitoring service contract and license, which can be paid in 12 monthly installments of $29.99 or once annually at $329.99. Each contract carries an early termination fee of $199.99 and allows for the real-time analysis of data; data transmission across cellular networks; alert notifications via text, phone call, and/or email; auto-updating of algorithms at the point-of-care; and 24/7 on-demand access to information and insight via smartphone application and a web dashboard.

+ Is NIGHTWATCH® offered in multiple sizes?

NIGHTWATCH® breakaway halters are offered in 3 sizes and safety collars in 4 sizes via a specially-designed leather coupler with form-shaping inlay for contouring purposes. Each smart device is made from only premium appointment-quality 1” Havana brown English Bridle leather with hypoallergenic 18/8 stainless steel hardware, including a double-buckle crown (halter and collar) and a snap throat latch (halter).

+ What size NIGHTWATCH® halter and/or collar does my horse need?

Most horses (15.1-16.1 hands; 1,000-1,200 lbs) will need a standard-size halter and collar, whereas smaller horses (14.1-15.1 hands; 800-1,000 lbs) such as Arabians, Morgans, and yearlings may be better suited for a cob-size. Oversize halters and collars are available for larger breeds (over 16.1 hands or over 1,200 lbs) while heavy horses and draft breeds can be accommodated through a special order. We recommend ponies (under 14.1 or under 800 lbs) use only a collar as halter are not available at this time.

+ Does NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar require any special care?

NIGHTWATCH® is durable, but does contain sensitive electronic components so appropriate care should be given to ensure longevity and proper functionality. Although all embedded technology is enclosed within a flexible, water- and dust-proof enclosure, excessive water exposure and submersion should be avoided. Each halter/collar is constructed using all-natural English Bridle leather from Wickett & Craig that has been hand-selected by Freedman Harness and Saddlery Company. English Bridle is a traditional leather (cow hide) used in a variety of applications, from classic equestrian tack to high-end leather goods. Drum dyed and hot stuffed, English Bridle is smooth, flexible yet durable.

+ Is NIGHTWATCH® safe?

NIGHTWATCH® is safe and under review to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to Part 15 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. NIGHTWATCH® further ensures compliance with Industry Canada (IC) license-exempt RSS standard(s) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) 60950 product safety standards. NIGHTWATCH® was developed under the expert guidance of veterinarians and has been tested on many horses of various breeds and sizes across the United States.

+ I am concerned about leaving any halter on my horse overnight.

We recognize some equestrians may have apprehension leaving a halter on a horse overnight or for an extended period of time when they are not being supervised. For this reason, we have developed the optional NIGHTWATCH® safety collar in addition to the NIGHTWATCH® breakaway halter. NIGHTWATCH® halters/collars have been specifically designed to have multiple breakaway points because we want to do everything within our power to reduce the likelihood of causing harm. Due to the low break-point of all-natural leather vs nylon, we do not recommend using any NIGHTWATCH® crown in conjunction with a nylon halter.

+ Where is NIGHTWATCH® made?

Our handcrafted halters and collars are designed and manufactured in Toronto, Canada and Rochester, New York, while all other operations are in Austin, Texas.

+ What is your customer care policy?

We are committed to make you 100% satisfied. If you are unsatisfied in anyway with your NIGHTWATCH® halter/collar, please call us at 800-757-3856 M-F (8:30 am to 5:30 pm CST) or email us at support@protequus.com.

+ Who is Protequus®?

Protequus® is a biomedical engineering and data science firm in Austin, Texas dedicated to equine health & safety and the developers of NIGHTWATCH®. Founded in 2013 by Jeffrey Schab after the sudden loss of one of his horses from colic, the multidisciplinary team of science and technology professionals at Protequus is driven by a passion for horses and a pursuit to combat the devastating impact of equine colic.