Guide Dogs Victoria Improve Whelping Process with Video

Successful breeding of guide dogs is critical for continuing to deliver valuable services to people with low vision and blindness. One of Australia’s respected organisations in this area is Guide Dogs Victoria. Providing the best care for expecting mothers requires 24-hour attention, which also needs to be sensitive to the dogs’ routines and general well-being.

Along with XProtect video management software from Milestone Systems, IP cameras were donated by Swinburne University* and refurbished by Axis Communications. The cameras and software afford a much greater degree of visibility and control than was previously possible. Guide Dogs staff can closely watch the whelping room in a non-invasive manner, which helps to provide a more relaxed environment for both dogs and staff. The solution also has helped to solve behavioural issues common in expecting mothers and their puppies.

With only 13 percent of funds coming from government support, Guide Dogs Victoria relies on such community donations and support from private enterprise.

Puppies born inside the Guide Dogs Victoria program are very precious commodities indeed. When trained, dogs have the potential to become a trusted friend and partner, for a hugely positive influence on the life of a person with vision loss. Therefore, the well-being of expecting mothers in the facility is crucial, demanding a great deal of attention and care.

Keeping Watch Made Easier – Also Remotely

Guide Dogs Victoria monitors pregnant dogs and gives them full duty-of-care. Apart from tracking temperatures to help indicate when a dog is about to go into labour, looking after the pregnant mothers-to-be is intensive work that requires constant vigilance.

The 24-hour monitoring of the whelping process takes a toll on staff and veterinarians. It can also affect the dogs: entering the room wakes them up and makes them think they are likely to be fed or walked, disturbing their routines. At this crucial time, a good night’s sleep is essential.

Guide Dogs Victoria installed high-resolution video cameras with Pan, Tilt and Zoom (PTZ) functionality and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) to remotely monitor the whelping room. The Video Management Software (VMS) is the platform for images to be viewed, recorded, and managed. Automatic lighting has been added to the solution, so that dimmable lights can switch on remotely to check on the dogs in a less obtrusive manner.

The Guide Dogs Victoria team said: “It was really about giving control and freedom back to nursing staff, so that rather than driving in at 1 a.m. to check on a dog, they open the mobile app to see if the pregnant dog is still asleep or has gone into labour.”

“The better degree of visibility gives us much greater insight into how the dogs are getting on, and the automation and remote control within the system has made a big impact on staff welfare. The system allows them to perform better, get more sleep and take more control of our very precious dogs,” said Paul Metcalf, Guide Dogs Manager.

The dogs at Guide Dogs Victoria are of huge importance to Australia’s low vision and blind community: enormous effort and care go into their development right from day one. With more than sixty years of selective breeding, certain traits and characteristics are strengthened from one generation to the next.

“The staff at Guide dogs Victoria are incredibly devoted to the dogs, and to protecting that legacy of breeding positive character traits. This solution – as with everything that goes on at the organisation – is about giving maximum control to those staff, enabling them to do the best job possible and recognising that everyone on board at the organisation just wants to help out the dogs as much as they possibly can,” concludes Paul Metcalf.

Read the full Guide Dogs Victoria video story on the Milestone Content Portal.

Learn more about Guide Dogs Victoria:

*Swinburne University upgrades its CCTV cameras every five years, and requires its used cameras to find a new lease of life in schools. According to Axis, the cameras used are discontinued models, but even after their university service they still have another 10 years of life left. Read that story.

See more about Swinburne University’s enlightened use of top technologies.