New NIGHTWATCH™ Smart Halter: Peace of Mind When You Cannot be There
On August 24, 2013 Jeffrey Schab and his partner, Wade Giles, were closing-out a long, yet successful week at The World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville, KY. On that final night spirits were high and celebration was in order as Jeffrey and his mare, Sue-She, competed for their final time together, and Jeffrey and Wade were looking forward to bringing Wade’s show horse, Snoop, home to Austin, TX, to live a pampered pet life after a long show career.
After celebrating late that night, a 6:45 am phone call jolted them awake. Wade reached for his cell phone and saw that it was his trainer calling. Wade answered his phone and said “hey Bret,” in an upbeat tone trying to pretend they were not sleeping. Within seconds, Wade jumped from the bed, clearly distraught, and muttered “what…?” His face turned pale and his eyes filled with tears as he fell back to the bed. Jeffrey heard Wade stutter over the phone, “what happened,” followed by the exclamation, “he’s dead!” The phone call was short, maybe 30 seconds. After hanging-up, Wade angrily threw his phone, turned slowly towards Jeffrey, and hesitantly said those words no horse owner ever wants to hear, “Snoop is dead.”
The handsome, almost 17-hand, liver-chestnut gelding, Undulata’s Nuts And Bolts, who was lovingly called Snoop, was only 8 years young when he died in the early morning hours of August 25, 2013, alone in his stall. Sometime following the last round of night checks at 1:30 am, Snoop experienced a relatively rare colic event, an EFE (i.e., epiploic foramen entrapment). EFE is the entrapment of intestine in the slit-like opening in the horse’s abdomen (epiploic foramen) through which intestine (most often small intestine) can become entrapped, usually resulting in severe colic due to strangulation of the affected intestine. While this is a relatively uncommon cause of colic in the general equine population, it accounts for two to eight percent of horses undergoing surgery for colic, and is one of the most common causes of small intestinal strangulation in some equine hospital populations. This is a painful type of colic that if caught early can often be corrected with surgery. Unfortunately, no one was there overnight to witness this distress/colic event and Snoop died within 10 minutes of being found by his caretaker at approximately 6:30 am.
Moments after Jeffrey processed what Wade had muttered and realized that Snoop was actually gone, he remembers the feeling of helplessness. He felt helpless because he could not console Wade and helpless because he felt like they failed Snoop. As Jeffrey exclaims, “We love all our animals, but especially our half-ton furry friends who rely on us to protect them at all times. It’s a privilege and not a right to own any animal, and I was left feeling like a bad parent who was not there for his child when he needed us most.” The overwhelming feeling of helplessness drove Jeffrey to do some research. He found himself on a quest to combat the problem of equine colic, the leading natural cause of death in horses. He spoke with his brother, who like Jeffrey, is also an engineer and entrepreneur, and then realized he needed to invent a solution that would prevent others from experiencing this same pain and feeling of helplessness. It was just a few weeks later that Jeffrey’s idea for NIGHTWATCH™ was born. Jeffrey explains, “Since that day I have focused 100% of my energy and personal resources into the NIGHTWATCH™ program and operate my business (Protequus LLC… pronounced “Pro-Tech-Quis”) today under the premise that failure is not an option. NIGHTWATCH™ is a labor of love because I refuse to allow Snoop’s death to be in vain.”
NIGHTWATCH™ is the World’s first smart halter/collar and the only equine distress & wellness monitor offered in the form of a breakaway halter or safety collar. This is a revolutionary product that will help improve and potentially save a horse’s life. NIGHTWATCH™ is a smart device that closely monitors a horse’s vital signs (i.e., heart and respiratory rates), behaviors (i.e., activity, movement and posture), and location via GPS in real time. Intelligently designed for comfort and safety, NIGHTWATCH™ continually learns a horse’s normal behavior and vital signs, and immediately alerts owners and caretakers at the first signs of distress via its integrated cellular technology and Wi-Fi connectivity. The longer a horse wears the device, the ‘smarter’ the device becomes at knot know what good looks like for each individual horse. Think it’s too good to be true? In one study by the company, NIGHTWATCH™ showed 97.5% accuracy for detecting novel (i.e., non-normal) behavioral events. This study has been submitted and is currently under review by The Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.
Over the past two years, a lot of hard work and research has gone into the development of NIGHTWATCH™. Jeffrey himself has an extensive background in biomedical engineering and together with other teams of biomedical, electrical, mechanical, and industrial design engineers as well as software and microsystem engineers, have managed to bring Jeffrey’s dream to life. The Protequus group has also been working closely with many horse farms, such as Grey Ridge Farm (Versailles, KY), and veterinarians of course. One of the largest equine practices in the nation, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute (Lexington, KY) and in particular, Nathan M. Slovis, DVM, DACVIM, CHT, has been guiding Jeffrey and his team to ensure the product’s safety, integrity, and benefit for horses, care team members, and veterinarians.
Jeffrey and his team are working to bring NIGHTWATCH™ to U.S. and Canadian markets by mid-year 2016. NIGHTWATCH™ will only be available exclusively through Protequus and is on track to begin accepting pre-orders in the first quarter at a reduced special introductory price. In the future, Protequus plans to take the product internationally to those regions of the world with a high number and concentration of horses, including but not limited to Australia and Europe.
To learn more or to be notified when pre-ordering is available, visit www.protequus.com and www.nightwatch24.com, or email the team at email@example.com. For more detailed information on the cutting-edge technology within NIGHTWATCH™, check out this recent article in Forbes.