“After we break the ice, we can bark.” This would sound like a weird proposition if Dror hadn’t first developed a company that attempted to decode the secret language of dogs.
After securing financing from a pet-loving “angel” friend of his, and delving into the idea, speaking Dog proved more challenging that Dror thought. So he moved to another language: decoding movement patterns in dogs to determine if they are healthy.
“You can’t take blood pressure or heart rate as reliable indicators of canine health,” said Yonatan Dror, CEO of a new Israeli pet chip monitor company called Oggii. His company (previously Oggway), uses a chip and patented algorithms to correlate pet movements with possible problems such as ticks, skin allergies, seizures, arthritis, poor joints, brain damage and even ear infections, which account for 30% of all visits to the vet. Pet owners receive action alerts like “diet” or “go to the vet.”
“Using algorithms, we are detecting a variety of patterns like dog walking, running, sleeping, drinking, playing, and so on. We also look at head shaking and many patterns that we analyze over months,” Dror explained.
His seven-year-old Golden Retriever, Anna, is now testing out the pilot Oggii chip, expected to go commercial in about two months.
There are some conditions, such as heartworm or cancer, that Oggii can’t detect directly, but it can alert a pet owner that something is wrong. “Cancer usually manifests in movement and lower activity levels,” said Dror.
The system compares movements of the dog to itself over time, to other dogs in the “cloud” connected to and using the Oggii chip, as well as to averages and expected behaviors in the dog world at large. Using a $30 Oggii chip could save dog owners money, and the dog unnecessary suffering.
A Canadian-Israeli vet who hadn’t heard of the invention before also thinks Oggii is a unique and exciting idea. Dr. David Cohen runs the clinic Vets4Pets in Herzliya and Jaffa, Israel. He tells ISRAEL21c: “One of the biggest challenges veterinarians (and pediatricians) face, is the patient being unable to say where it hurts and give other relevant history. It sounds like the Oggii would be the voice for the patient.”
As for practical use, there is no need to charge the long-life battery. After a year when the battery drains, you just replace it.
Dror is an architect who got the basic idea for Oggii while strolling to work one day. “We wanted to translate what dogs are saying. It’s a little bit out there,” he said. “I turned to someone I know with a lot of money. And he invested in the idea. So I had money to make a lot of mistakes.”
Designit, Europe’s biggest brand innovation company, has partnered with Tel Aviv-based Oggii. Financing comes through angel investors, as well the incubator TheTimes. The company was founded in 2011 and will seek additional financing sometime in next year.
Dror is now talking to some of the companies with the biggest bark and bite in the world market: PetSmart, Walmart and Procter & Gamble. Now that’s something to ruff about.
By Karin Kloosterman, Israel 21c