Vetoquinol has released a free web-based app for clients who own pets suffering from congestive heart failure. The new app and digital tracker will allow pet owners to monitor their pet’s sleeping respiratory rate (SRR) at home and give an indication of the status of their medical condition. During lockdown, it offers a useful means for the veterinary team to remotely assess patients. The app can be accessed at www.uplife.uk/srr and it can be communicated to clients at the point when their pet is diagnosed, or shared with clients whose pets already have a diagnosis and are under treatment.
In most dogs and cats where congestive heart failure is well controlled by medication, the sleeping respiratory rate is stable and less than 30 breaths per minute.1,2 Using the app to count and record SRR gives clients a good indication of when to seek veterinary intervention and generates data that helps veterinary teams seeking to minimise unnecessary face to face contact but still provide much needed emergency care.
SRR is a sensitive indicator of pulmonary oedema or pulmonary effusion, which can occur as a result of deterioration of the condition of a pet with heart failure. The resulting increased respiratory rate at rest is most easily detected by the owner when the pet is asleep. This means continued and timely monitoring of SRR is a useful biomarker for vets allowing them to track progression of congestive heart failure and to detect stability during treatment.
While a SRR in the reference range does not exclude heart disease, it reduces the probability that the patient is suffering from left sided heart failure, so may also be a useful measure for remote triage as part of a wider assessment. Other causes of elevated SRR include pain, pneumonia, stress and heatstroke.
Mrs Helen Hunter is Product Manager at Vetoquinol and is part of the team that developed the app, “Being able to monitor patients with congestive heart failure is important at any time but during lockdown, with some routine checks having to be postponed, having a means of remote monitoring is more important than ever. This tool will help veterinary professionals make the judgement call about whether the pet needs to be seen, especially when the results are provided in the context of monitoring that has taken place over time, providing an assessment of what is normal for that patient.”
The app is the latest addition to the UpLife suite of resources available for free to veterinary surgeons at www.uplife.uk. The site includes a number of webinars, case challenges and diagnostic aids. To complement the addition of the new tool, the site has also launched a webinar delivered by RCVS Recognised Specialist in Cardiology, Dave Dickson of Heart Vets. The presentation discusses the ‘10 Golden Rules of Congestive Heart Failure’ and covers topics including the importance of clear radiography and why a cough is not diagnostic of CHF.
Dave says SRR is a useful parameter to look at, “Sleeping respiratory rate is one of the most useful ways to monitor an animal in CHF or to look for signs of CHF developing. By encouraging pet owners to monitor and track the dog’s sleeping respiratory rate at home, owners can provide vets with a valuable insight into the success of the current treatment regime. The UpLife app is free and will be really helpful to vets and pet owners, both now during lockdown and in the future.”
For further information, practices can contact their Vetoquinol Territory Manager, or email email@example.com, or call 01280 814500.