By Kathy Walsh
DENVER (CBS4) – A new way to get health advice about your pet at home or on your smart phone should be available any day now. Colorado veterinarian/entrepreneur, Dr. Ed Blach, is one of the founders of “MyPetDoc.”
It is an intelligent bot that talks to you through your Amazon Alexa.
You might call it Alexa for animal owners. It is touted as the “world’s first artificial intelligence driven smartvet” and it’s free. CBS4’s Kathy Walsh put it to the test with her pets.
Sadie is a nearly 17-year-old cockapoo. Josie is her 13-year-old side kick. They are puppies at heart, but do have concerns that come with aging. Sadie’s eyes are an issue.
“My dog’s eyes are filmy and watery,” Blach said in a conversation with MyPetDoc. A sympathetic Alexa answered, “Poor pup.”
Alexa asked questions.
“Is there any discharge from the eye?”
And she offered her take saying, “It could be an infection, sensitivity to an irritant or a number of other things.”
The conversation came through “MyPetDoc,” a bot created by Blach and a team of technologists. They used data from more than 30,000 text exchanges between veterinarians and pet owners.
“To identify the most frequently asked questions, how people ask them and be able to develop a very predictable conversation,” explained Blach.
For now, the free technology will address just five issues affecting cats and dogs.
“Diarrhea, vomiting, eye issues, urinary issues and itching and scratching,” said Blach.
And Alexa asks if you need to talk to a vet.
“The cost of the consult is $25.00. Do you want to continue?” she said.
Blach calls MyPetDoc easier and more engaging than Google. He believes it’s the answer for pet lovers who want immediate advice when dogs, like Sadie and Josie, just aren’t themselves.
Blach believes you’ll be able to “Ask MyPetDoc” on Amazon’s Alexa any day now both on the smart speaker devices and through the Alexa App. He says the technology will expand to Google Home, add more species and more topics and just keep getting smarter.