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Sensors 2018, 18(1), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18010249

Use of Accelerometer Activity Monitors to Detect Changes in Pruritic Behaviors: Interim Clinical Data on 6 Dogs

1
Pet Nutrition Center, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., Topeka, KS 66617, USA
2
Open Lab, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
3
Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 5 January 2018 / Accepted: 13 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Health Monitoring and Disease Diagnosis)
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Abstract

Veterinarians and pet owners have limited ability to assess pruritic behaviors in dogs. This pilot study assessed the capacity of the Vetrax® triaxial accelerometer to measure these behaviors in six dogs with pruritus likely due to environmental allergens. Dogs wore the activity monitor for two weeks while consuming their usual pet food (baseline), then for eight weeks while consuming a veterinary-exclusive pet food for dogs with suspected non-food-related skin conditions (Hill’s Prescription Diet® Derm DefenseTM Canine dry food). Veterinarians and owners completed questionnaires during baseline, phase 1 (days 1–28) and phase 2 (days 29–56) without knowledge of the activity data. Continuous 3-axis accelerometer data was processed using proprietary behavior recognition algorithms and analyzed using general linear mixed models with false discovery rate-adjusted p values. Veterinarian-assessed overall clinical signs of pruritus were significantly predicted by scratching (β 0.176, p = 0.008), head shaking (β 0.197, p < 0.001) and sleep quality (β −0.154, p < 0.001), while owner-assessed quality of life was significantly predicted by scratching (β −0.103, p = 0.013) and head shaking (β −0.146, p < 0.001). Among dogs exhibiting pruritus signs eating the veterinary-exclusive food, the Vetrax® sensor provided an objective assessment of clinically relevant pruritic behaviors that agreed with owner and veterinarian reports. View Full-Text
Keywords: wearable sensor; activity monitor; dermatitis; scratching; shaking; dermatology; pruritus; accelerometer; nutrition wearable sensor; activity monitor; dermatitis; scratching; shaking; dermatology; pruritus; accelerometer; nutrition
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wernimont, S.M.; Thompson, R.J.; Mickelsen, S.L.; Smith, S.C.; Alvarenga, I.C.; Gross, K.L. Use of Accelerometer Activity Monitors to Detect Changes in Pruritic Behaviors: Interim Clinical Data on 6 Dogs. Sensors 2018, 18, 249.

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