As a vet specialised in horses, Heidi Kellokoski-Kiiskinen knows full well how all over the place medical data can be. Vaccinations, antibiotics, prescriptions, weight notes and body temperatures may be written down on post-it notes or paper corners, and finding them when needed can be a real chore – let alone remembering things like withdrawal periods for racehorses and farm animals.
The details aren’t written down just for fun either. There are various instances in which the data can be requested if, for example, a horse is to be slaughtered for meat or is suspected of having been given substances to improve its performance in a race, or a dog is to apply for a passport for travel. On top of this, the information on withdrawal periods and changes in medical recommendations isn’t always easily available, leaving horse and dog owners and sometimes even vets confused and uninformed.
For a long time, Kellokoski-Kiiskinen was looking for a ready-made solution for keeping a medical record that she could recommend to horse owners and trainers. It turned out that there wasn’t one.
“And as I, unfortunately, have plenty of time to sit in the car due to my long commute, I started to consider making one myself.”
Healthier and happier animals
A while later, Kellokoski-Kiiskinen had a product concept and results from a market study, and a software development company as a partner to create the very first version of Paulus. The app would meet the needs of horse and dog owners both in Finland and internationally, offering a simple and quick way to write down medical data, giving medical advice when needed and gathering factual and up-to-date information about the impact of a certain medicine on the animal’s eligibility to compete, for example.
Kellokoski-Kiiskinen is involved in many pan-European and international bodies of veterinary experts. She notes that although in Finland horses aren’t bred for meat, elsewhere in Europe it’s much more common, and thus following medical records is essential for food safety, too. Many horse owners struggle to keep up with the changing doping regulations, which may lead to sanctions if the treatment their horses receive isn’t kept track of.
When it comes to dogs, the app makes it easy to follow the pet’s treatment and development. It also aims to help pet owners to look after their friends better by, for example, reminding them of vaccination boosts and giving other wellbeing tips.
Paulus is always with you
Users pay a monthly fee to use the service, and, in return, they get plenty of up-to-date information, as well as high level of privacy with their data well protected. The app is currently available in English, Finnish and Swedish.
Initially, the company was run under Kellokoski-Kiiskinen’s veterinary clinic. The separate company for Paulus, Paulus & Co, was founded in 2017, and the app’s first version was launched in summer 2018.
From the very beginning, the aim has been to go international. Kellokoski-Kiiskinen tells that the next marketing efforts will focus on Sweden, and then the team will head further.
The pet market is rapidly growing with animal owners spending increasing amounts of money on their family members of different species, and so Kellokoski-Kiiskinen believes that the pet industry will have demand for a service like Paulus. One example of the power of pets can actually be seen in Paulus as well.
“The name for the company shows a total lack of imagination,” the founder says and laughs. “Paulus is the name of my Jack Russell, who’s always with me wherever I go.”
A bit like Paulus, the app will, too.