There’s an App for That, Part I: Equine Veterinary Apps
Warning: These apps are good for “there’s some mild swelling.” Not good for “I only see three legs.” Might wanna call your vet for that one.
Each week for the next several weeks, we’re going to bring you a handful of topic-related apps and give you our personal review of their features and give you the specs. If you have apps that you’re using and loving (or hating!) send tips on to our editors!
Vet books can be expensive and become outdated. Vet calls for every case of dandruff or funny sound can be expensive. Sorting through the sea of drugs, rules, and side effects can be exhausting. So while NO app can replace the care and attention of your favorite DVM, a few apps have been released to ease some of the day to day burden off those who love both their horse and their smart phone. Here’s the lowdown on the most popular vet apps available:
1. Horse Side Vet Guide
- ios and android systems
- last updated: 1/9/2014
I was SO impressed with this tool. First, it lets you search by your own observations (for example, I started typing “itch” and it pulled up the topic I was looking for, “rubbing or trying to scratch eye”). It talks you through the various elements of the symptom, and then — wait for it — gives suggestions for further observation, what to do, what NOT to do, and provides several ideas on how to communicate with your vet and determine a solution. Everything you need, from symptom to diagnosis to treatment.
You can also start from the middle — say for example, you have a diagnosis from a vet on a piece of paper that sounds like absolute gibberish, such as “horse has cruciate ligament injury” ….uh okay. You can look that diagnosis up alphabetically or in the search, and it will give you all the same helpful guides you got for the symptom.
Some other handy bonuses in this tool: lists of common veterinary supplies, a comprehensive list of veterinary skills and the steps needed for successful mastery, INCREDIBLE illustrations, diagrams, videos, and a quick reference for common vitals.
My only critique of the tool is that the ability to add your own data is somewhat limited. They cleverly included many places for free text notes to tack onto a particular vet supply or in the vitals section, but the next step would be to provide a form-type place for that information to live for each horse you own or manage.
Overall, I cannot emphasize enough what a valuable tool I found this to be, and for the amount of time and the wealth of information in a single app, $4.99 is a STEAL! I’ve paid 10 times that amount for vet books that were nowhere near as helpful.
2. MP Equine
- iOS only
- last updated: 07/12/2012
The MP Equine tool offers real world terminology and perspective to some of the most commonly thrown around terms in veterinary cases, which, let’s be honest, are most of the things that we run into at the barn. It’s a handy tool for the elementary student of horse health wondering “what’s that weird stuff in my horse’s mane?” or “What exactly is laminitis again?” And like the previous app, it includes normal stats for the healthy horse.
MP’s best feature is its really solid collection of how-to videos that range from lameness detection to the proper procedure for giving an injection. The videos provide the instruction that you can’t get out of text and photos.
The major downside to this app is that it’s not terribly intuitive; the layout and classification of the information is rather confusing. Rather than getting to the information you seek by symptom, you have to search by anatomical system (such as digestive issues or neurological issues), but obviously, if you’re seeing a really strange symptom, you might not know which system is manifesting the symptom.
Overall, I would say that if you’re absolutely not going to buy a paid app or invest in a vet guide, this is certainly better than nothing, but I would view it strictly as supplemental, not quintessential.
3. FEI Clean Sport (Banned Substance List)
- iOS and Android
- Last Updated: (It’s complicated)
If you’re not an FEI competitor, the lure of this app is strictly educational, but it is an interesting app to play around in, nonetheless. The app allows you to search the full list of FEI banned and controlled substances by brand or main ingredient, and also gives a brief description of what each drug contains and what it’s used to treat (or why it is banned/controlled).
If you ARE an FEI competitor, this app is a little bit terrifying. When you check in iTunes for the last app update, it says November 2010. And, for the record, the FEI has added a lot of controlled and banned drugs since then that a person might want to know about. So I was trying to determine whether new drugs were being added to the list, and the good news is, they have. The bad news is, there’s no indication THAT the drugs are new, when they were added, or when the ban went into effect. So if you’re a competitor with genuine concerns, I would check the official site before I trust the app.
4. SmartPak App
- iOS and Android
- Last Updated: July 2014
Now THIS is a pretty darn sweet free app. Yes, SmartPak is one of our sponsors, but they are not paying me to tell you this is a sweet app. It just is. Honestly, I expected to go into a horse care app produced by a retailer and find every article in the Horse Health Library was just a link to something they were selling. Instead, I found the horse health info genuinely educational, entertaining, and most of the articles written by legit DVMs.
The highlight of the Horse Health Library for me is the Ingredient Glossary, which defines all the active ingredients you’ll find in equine supplements across many brands. For the obsessed owner determined to understand how and why every ingredient is given (allow me to timidly raise my hand as part of this crowd), this glossary is indispensable. I have referenced it often when comparing supplements or buying raw ingredients.
The other features in the app are also nice (my horse section, link to the SmartPak Blog, quick product access, etc.), but I keep it on my phone for the horse health library.
Come back for more next week when we review the most popular management apps. Whether you manage one, two, or a hundred horses, these are designed to track their health, fitness, and routines seamlessly and effectively. We’ll tell you which get the job done, and which don’t!
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