The World’s First Smart Pet Thermometer | Mella Pet Care

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ANIMAL INNOVATIONS SHOW - EPISODE 47 - MELLA PET CARE

The World’s First Smart Pet Thermometer | Mella Pet Care

As far as pet health goes, one thing remains certain: preventative care is just as important for pets as it is for humans.

Despite this, the pet industry has seen fewer pets being taken to the vet as often as needed for the last five years.

Either it’s because of costs, inconvenience, or the lack of pet health knowledge at home, this situation has resulted in worse health outcomes and higher healthcare costs for pets.

The good news is, keeping pet health problems at bay is possible. However, pet owners need the right tools to understand and monitor their pets’ health and help their pets live longer and healthier lives.

Enter Mella.

Carrying the tagline “pets’ new best friend”, Mella is the world’s first pet thermometer that accurately takes your dog’s or cat’s temperature under their armpit. It creates smart vital signs monitoring technology that allows anyone, anywhere, to get the insights they need to help their four-legged best friends live healthier, happier lives.

According to Daniella Morgan-Pascualvaca,

“We just launched our first two products. So, we have two thermometers. We call them the ‘Mela Pro’ and the ‘Mela Home’… What’s interesting about it is (that) it’s not your regular drugstore thermometer. It’s actually the world’s first axillary, cloud-based pet thermometer for pet parents.”

How Mella Pet Care Started

The World's First Smart Pet Thermometer Mella Pet Care

The idea for Mella started when Anya Babbitt noticed her rescue dog, Mella, developing a bad case of kennel cough.

According to Anya, Mella’s symptoms were subtle at the time, so she wasn’t sure if the situation was serious enough to warrant a visit to the vet. Uncertain of what to do, Anya used her observations and judgment to make the call. However, this almost led to Mella’s death.

Daniella shared,

“Anya didn’t really know how to connect the symptoms. She didn’t know the diagnosis… Mella almost didn’t make it. And Anya realized, ‘Oh, my God. What really could have helped me was a thermometer. It could have really helped to rule out all of these potential symptoms if I only knew her temperature.’”

This near-traumatic experience inspired Anya, who now serves as Mella Pet Care’s CEO, to gather the team members who are helping her run the business.

 Together with the team and her co-founders, Yale Zhang and Ben Seidman, they set Mella Pet Care on a new adventure, one where they positioned the company as an ecosystem of technology products that empower both veterinarians and pet parents to better understand and track their pets’ health.

“It’s really just innovation built around the love and passion for your animals… Mella Pet Care builds accessible technology and diagnostic products for vets and parents to easily track health, starting with the thermometer and expanding to body fat, pulse ox, and other key vital signs.”

Mella Pet Care’s founders have worked together since 2014. Mella’s R&D team has also developed and commercialized a total of six products in human healthcare.

Mella Pet Care for Tracking Pet Health

The World's First Smart Pet Thermometer Mella Pet Care

Currently, there are few options to gain visibility into pet wellness inside a pet guardian’s home. Mella aims to address this by enabling pet parents to understand how to best care for their pets using data insights that address preventable health conditions. The company’s ecosystem of products also combines to give a fuller picture of your dogs’ or cats’ health.

With Mella, you simply put the thermometer under your pet’s armpit. This way, no one gets hurt or feels uncomfortable, unlike when you use a regular drug thermometer.
Not only that, but all the pet’s data goes straight to the patient management system. This makes everything integrated for your vet.

“We are making pet healthcare accessible and approachable to pet parents. Parents say they want to have happier lives with their pets without having to do as much work… Just as we have staple products for our human children, we are also adapting them for our pets. The future of pet care involves bringing machine learning to the millions of pet health records gathered through tools we have built to help us all make better decisions for improved health outcomes,”

Daniella said, closing the podcast.

 

 

Learn more about Mella Pet Care:

Check out their website at https://www.mella.ai/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Daniella: Hi, I’m Daniella Morgan-Pascualvaca, and you’re tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Awesome introduction, Daniella. So, thanks for coming on. Tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Daniella: I’m the Director of Growth and Community at Mella Pet Care. We’re so excited because we just launched our first two products.

So, we have two thermometers. We call them the Mella Pro and the Mella Home. And you’re going to think: “Wait, a thermometer and a pet care company.” “What is that?” “What’s going on?”

Chris: Yeah.

Daniella: Okay. Well, what’s interesting about it is, it’s not your just regular drug store thermometer. It’s actually the world’s first axillary, cloud-based pet thermometer for pet parents.

Chris: When you say, “cloud-based”, what is that?

Daniella: Yeah, I know, I know. I’m gonna break it down. So, there might be some pet parents out there going: “Okay, what axillary?” “Why is it cloud-based?” “None of that makes sense.”

So, the axillary artery is right under the armpit. As you know, you take your pet to the vet. Unfortunately, they get their temperature taken. That’s rectally. That’s really terrible. No one likes that. Like, no one’s having fun. Your pet is squirming. The vet tech has to restrain the animal. Maybe it’s getting scratched. The pet parents are in the corner going, “Oh, my God. You’re hurting my dog or cat.” But now, it’s under the armpit. So, no one gets hurt, no one’s uncomfortable. 

And then the cloud-based part of that is that, for vets, all of this data goes straight to the patient management system. So, everything’s integrated. You no longer have the need to write down the temperature on a piece of paper, lose the piece of paper, right on the back of your hand. Have that smudge. You get that. All of that goes to your system. All of it goes to the profile of the pet. And in turn, what you see is that you get this history of trends. And so, over time, you just collect all of this data, none of it’s ever lost. And it’s great! Because you finally have this holistic profile of your pet. That’s for vets. What about pet parents? So, what we have is then the Mella Home. The Mella Home is small. It’s a—the Mella Pro’s pretty large, so, you know, a little intimidating maybe for pet parents. But we have a little small version just for home use. And what’s great about this is that this is your first line of defense.

Tell me: Have you ever had a sick pet, and go, “Oh, my God. Wait. Do I take them to the vet or do I not?”

Chris: Yep. “Is it just hairball?” “They’re just not feeling well.” “Like, what’s going on?”

Daniella: Exactly.

So, the first thing you can do is take their temperature. And that’s a great marker because as soon as you see a fever, that’s an indication that you need to take them to the vet. And also, what’s really relevant is the pandemic has changed a lot. Now, things maybe are starting to open up again. But, back when the pandemic was really at the height, you couldn’t even take your pet to the vet. You would have to, just like do a kind of a curbside drop-off.

Chris: Yeah. A drive-by.

Daniella: You just throw your dog out the window. Go, “Okay, I’ll come back later.” And so, what we’ve really realized is that times are changing, and we’re moving towards telemedicine for humans and for vets. And, you know, part of that is just being at home. And when you’re at home, you don’t have a fancy X-ray. You don’t have any of the gadgets that your vet has. You have nothing, really.

And so, it’s hard to help your vet know what’s happening with your pet. If you’re holding your pet up, on Zoom, you’re going, “There’s something wrong with my pet!” And, in fact, a lot of pet parents don’t really know what a normal temperature is.

Say, a cat has a temperature of 100°F. That’s fine. That’s completely normal. But you might look at that and use the basis for human temperature, and go, “Oh, my God. My cat has a fever.” And that’s one thing that Mella helps you with, it’s that— not only does Mella give you a reading, not only do they say: “Okay, your cat has a temperature of 100 F°”, but then it tells you—it gives you steps.

So, it’ll say: “Oh, this is normal. Okay, you don’t have to proceed. You’re good.” Then it’ll say: “Oh, wait, this is a fever. Here’s what you need to do.” And so, you’re never staring at a number, going, “What is this?”.

There’s always help and a backbone for you.

Chris: Yeah.

So, I’m downloading an app and connecting it to the app then and it’s feeding that information, helping me to track it. And like you said, tell me what to do about it. It’s as easy as just—as long as you have a device with Bluetooth, you can connect Mella.

Daniella: You can do it on your computer, too. We have a desktop version. We have a mobile version. Just Bluetooth is needed.

Chris: Now, how long has this been in development? I mean, when did the idea started? Maybe give us a little bit of the backstory.

Daniella: So, the idea came around back in 2019, I want to say, when one of our co-founders, Anya, adopted this puppy, and the puppy—her name is actually Mella. She is now 14 years old. She just celebrated her 14th birthday.

But back in the day, and the day—a very long time ago, the puppy almost died because she had a kennel cough. But Anya didn’t know this. And so, she had all of these symptoms. But regardless, she didn’t really know how to connect the symptoms. She didn’t know the diagnosis. And so, the puppy was in a little incubation pod for months and months, and she almost didn’t make it.

And Anya realized: “Oh my God. What really could have helped me was a thermometer.” Like, it could have really helped to rule out all of these potential symptoms if I only knew her temperature, and it really would have saved both her and Mella from this insane amount of both fear and uncertainty surrounding her condition.

So, that was really where it came from. Chris: So, now, when you’re taking it, under the armpit, right—is it easy, I mean, is there instructions that tell me where within the armpit I’m sticking the thermometer? Daniella: Of course, we do have a lot of help. So, we have an instructional video. We have an instructional guide and written form. We have a QR code that you can scan. We have it in a lot of a variety of different ways so that you never feel lost.

But the simplest way to put it is really all you need to do is put the thermometer—and I actually have it here with me. So, as you can see, it’s just long. This is the pro version, and you’re just gonna put it, you know, parallel to the leg right into the armpit. You hold it there for as little as two and a half seconds, and the app is going to say: “Alright, done.”

And as long as your pet stays relatively still. And, you know—doesn’t need to be too still, but as long as, you know, they’re not jumping up the walls, you know, hold them still for 5 seconds. And you’ve got that reading. And obviously, it doesn’t hurt at all. Not uncomfortable. It’s just there for—

Chris: I was gonna say if I put a treat in my hand, and that takes 2 seconds, right? I mean, that’s pretty easy. It’s easier than when I take them to the vet, and trying to get the dog to stand on the scale for them to zero out and get a baseline.

So, it seems like it happens really quick.

Daniella: Yeah. I know, it’s super-fast, and our technology is just improving and improving. And so, it’s going to get faster. Chris: That’s really cool.

So, I mean, I know you guys just launched this, but I mean, you must have plans to do much more with this stuff.

Daniella: What we really want to do is just create an ecosystem of products. Our next product, which is going to be Biggie, and it’s a body mass analyzing index.

We want a pulse oximeter. We want all of these hard, technological products because we know we want to be on that side of things, and we want to provide people with those products so that then we can collaborate with things like telemedicine and other brands and pet parents and vets.

And the whole point of this is just collaboration and building a community. Because, obviously, us, with just plastic thermometers— you can’t do it on our own, but we can do it with the help of everybody, and just spreading the word and educating people about pet health, and really, really just building that ecosystem.

Chris: Is there anything else you want to mention before we wrap things up? I know we’ve covered a lot today, but anything else? Daniella: Well, I would love to let everyone know, how you can get your hands on your own Mella Thermometer. And so, as I mentioned before, yes, we have our Mella Pro and our Mella Home.

So, our Mella Pro retails at $129, and our Mella home retails at $49. Mella Pro is, actually yet, geared towards vets. And Mella Home is geared towards pet parents. But also, don’t let that discourage you from getting a Mella Home if you’re a vet. That is completely allowed, too.

Don’t feel like you have to pick one or the other or fit into that box. But what’s amazing is that you can just go to MELLA.AI. And for just a dollar, you can reserve your Mella Home or Mella Pro, and you get a 30-day free trial.

And just like that, if you don’t like it, if you feel like it doesn’t work with either your clinic or your home flow, no bother at all. You return it.

So, in 30 days, return it. If not, you’re happy with it, congrats! It’s yours.

Chris: And what’s the name of your podcast again so that people can tune in to that? Daniella: Yeah, of course, it’s Mella Moment.

So, same Mella, M-E-L-L-A and then moment. We’re available on Spotify, Apple podcast. And also if there’s a link through our website. So, we’re relatively easy to find.

Chris: Daniella, this has been really great. I’m really excited that you came on today.

As we wrap things up, I’m just going to remind our viewers and listeners that, if you know somebody that’s got an amazing product, like the Mella Pet Thermometer, somebody that I should talk to—amazing ideas are always welcome.

Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW, and let me know about it, and we’ll get them on the show.

So, thanks again for coming on, Daniella. It was great to talk to you.

Daniella: Of course. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

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