Stress vs Distress.

We often see the term "stress" used to describe negative situations, which has lead us to believe that all stress is bad. This is not necessarily true. 

Stress is simply our body's response to tough demands. Good stress is only short-term, it motivates us, and can improve our performance. In contrast, bad stress (ie, distress) causes the feeling of anxiety or concern, can be either short- or long-term, and ultimately hinders our performance.


Equine Distress.

Equine distress can stem from many factors, including, but not limited to injury, trauma, illness, fear, and boredom. While there are many common distress conditions (eg, colic, being cast, foaling), colic is of the greatest concern because it’s the leading natural cause of death in horses, second only to old age. Horses are prey animals who instinctually suppress expression of pain and distress as a mechanism to avoid predators. Coupled with the fact that horses are often unsupervised overnight or in remote locations, identification of equine distress is challenging.

Historically, assessment of distress in horses has been a labor-intense task that requires the piecing together of different clinical variables with a strong reliance upon subjective and intermittent behavioral observation. While veterinarians and others routinely rely on scoring systems in clinical practice, including several for pain, each have their shortcomings and there is no gold standard today.


Equine Distress Index®.

The EDI® is a new 10-point scale that makes understanding a horse’s general well-being easy. The lower their EDI® score, the happier and healthier they are. A horse’s EDI® score is an objective measure of their relative distress and general well-being and derived using a fuzzy inference system with multiple parameters, including biometric data, behavioral inputs, pre-condition factors, and more. 

  • Biometric data: Vital signs

  • Behavioral inputs: Activity, motion, posture

  • Pre-condition factors: Medical history, habits, routines, diet

Percentages shown are estimated and approximate contribution values.

Percentages shown are estimated and approximate contribution values.

The EDI® is offered exclusively by NIGHTWATCH®, the world’s first smart halter™. As embedded sensors acquire and analyze real-time data on your horse’s biometrics and behaviors, NIGHTWATCH® computes an EDI score (1 to 10) relative to their unique and normal physiology. When a user-defined threshold on the EDI® scale is breached, caretakers are alerted via text, voice, and email for early intervention.


Remember, the EDI® score is…

  • Relative: Score is relative to your horse’s unique physiology vs historical data from other horses on an absolute scale

  • Real-time: Score is available any time on-demand because of real-time data analysis vs intermittent data sampling

  • Objective: Score is based upon objective data gathered from sensors vs subjective assessment by observation alone

  • Multivariate: Score is derived simultaneously from multiple sensor inputs for a wholistic picture of wellness vs a single variable