New app promises on-demand vet care for animal owners

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A new artificial intelligence tool has been developed to bring veterinary care to animals whose owners, for whatever reason, do not seek in-person veterinary care.

The Joii app aims to make pet care affordable, accessible and convenient for owners, and its creators, Vet-AI, say it “will revolutionise the way we care for our pets”. It is scheduled to launch on April 26.

The free app aims to reduce the cost of pet care by 60% and offer 70% of the services (non-emergency) of a traditional practice

Using Joii, animal owners enter symptoms in the app, which are assessed by the AI triage model. Information on what to do next is then generated.

Co-founder Robert Dawson, a veterinarian based in Salisbury, said: “We’ll be providing those who tend not to visit high street practices, but consult Google instead, with an affordable and accessible alternative to a traditional practice. This in itself, will enhance welfare by affording the animal some level of expert care when presenting signs appear.”

Vet-AI was founded in 2017 by Dawson and Leeds-based tech expert Paul Hallett. They have spent 18 months on research and development for the new business. Dawson has invested £500,000 into the company, and said he was passionate about improving the care of pets and all animals around the world.

“I have been hugely fortunate to have had the opportunity to treat thousands of wonderful animals and to meet their parents during 25 years as a vet and this investment is an opportunity to build a business which will enable the same for millions of pets across the globe.”

He also said that such technology enabled greater flexibility for veterinarians. “Sadly there is a real problem with vets leaving the profession, a lot of which is down to the difficulty of maintaining a work/life balance within traditional practices, particularly for those with young families. We are building technologies that will offer an alternative way of working with complete flexibility. By doing so we believe we will help keep some amazing vets working within this great profession and give them new ways to connect and engage with pets and pet parents.”

The duo has built a team of 20 industry experts including vets, PhD level data scientists and technology programmers. They plan to employ another 30 people over the next year whilst continually developing AI technology to automate diagnosis and improve healthcare.

“We’re dedicated to creating a business that genuinely looks after the people it recruits, to entrust and empower them to build extraordinary technologies that improve the lives of pet parents and owners,” Hallett said.

Vet AI chairman Jonathan Sands said he believed the venture would transform the future of the veterinary industry. “I can see a huge upside, both in improving the work life balance for vets themselves, whilst at the same time making pet care more expedient, more convenient and better value for every family with a pet. It is a very exciting proposition and I am delighted to be involved.”

Following the April launch of Joii, Vet AI aims to go global, with Australia and the US next, followed by Europe and Asia.

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