(Inside Science TV) -- Most pet owners consider their pets to be members of the family. When pets get sick, monitoring them closely becomes very important.
Now, there is a new system that can check on pets without disrupting their recovery process.
Sally Beachboard, the owner of a 20-year-old horse named Julie, wants to make sure that Julie stays healthy. Beachboard is allowing researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville to test a new device on Julie that could allow veterinarians to monitor animals around the clock.
"Under normal conditions, we would have to come into the stall and [use] a stethoscope, just like in people, and listen to the heart here," said Maureen Long, a veterinarian and associate professor at the University of Florida.
But now, a device developed by Jenshan Lin, an electrical engineer at the University of Florida, can wirelessly check heart rate and breathing using radio waves.
"They can use this heart monitor, stay away from the horse, let the horse rest, and know where the status of the horse is," said Beachboard.
It can be used after surgery to constantly monitor vital signs without disturbing the animal, and because the technology is wireless, it also eliminates the danger of the animal becoming caught in any wires.
"Heart rate, respiration rate and temperature vital signs are still the number one most important measurement we take on a horse to assess its health," said Long.
The device can be used on any pet. Researchers also hope to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration to test the device on humans soon.
The non-stop monitoring helps treat problems and give owners like Beachboard peace of mind.
"I think it would be amazing to have in the medical profession for veterinarians," said Beachboard.
Researchers said that the data can be uploaded to a cloud, making it accessible anywhere at any time. The device could become commercially available for animals within a year.