CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
INTRODUCTION TO THE INVENTION
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/032,994, filed Feb. 18, 2008, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,543,551 granted on Jun. 9, 2009, which is a continuation of PCT Application No. PCT/AU06/01679 filed Nov. 10, 2006, and which claims priority to Australian Patent Application No. AU 2006/901835 filed Apr. 7, 2006, and to Australian Provisional Patent Application No. AU 2005/906,512 filed Nov. 23, 2005, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference, and made a part hereof.
- BACKGROUND TO INVENTION
This invention relates to protective devices for use in animal veterinary and other situations where an animal's head region and in particular an animal's eyes, require physical protection to limit or impede the ability of an animal to scratch or interfere with its eyes that may be sensitive or recuperating from a medical condition or veterinary treatment.
Animals undergoing post operative recuperation and/or treatment for eye problems frequently require eye protection during the post operative or post treatment stages in order to allow the animals eyes to fully recover and to prevent the tendency for an animal to interfere with its eyes due to itchiness or other irritations that may be present after treatment.
In order to provide such protection, various devices are currently available including goggles of the type worn by people and enlarged collars. Goggles are difficult to apply to a dogs face and often provide more irritation and distraction to the dog than the eye problems per se. An alternative device is the Elizabethan type collar or cone which is a bucket shaped device adapted for placing around a dogs neck in an endeavour to prevent the dog from scratching or interfering with its face or eyes. Whilst these devices are relatively effective, they are difficult to properly fit to an animal, they are clumsy and awkward for the animal and often can make it extremely difficult for the animal to eat or drink or even sleep not to mention the difficulty an animal will face negotiating obstacles travelling through doorways and navigating its way around in the usual manner.
It will be highly desirable to provide a wearable visor or protective device adapted to comfortably fit to a dogs head in a secure manner so as to protect the dog or animals eyes whilst not interfering with most other activities that the animal normally enjoys.
- STATEMENTS OF INVENTION
One object of the invention is to provide an improved animal visor.
In one aspect the invention provides a protective visor for use on a dog or other animal comprising a body formable to the general shape of said animals head wherein said body includes an upper portion adapted to fold around said animals snout so as to form a front opening for said animals mouth and nostrils and a rear portion adapted to fold over the rear of said animals head so as to form two ear openings wherein said body includes a compliant internal pressure strap adapted to hold said visor snugly in engagement with said animals head when fitted thereto.
The pressure strap may be formed as an extension of the rear portion of said body and adapted to be folded into the internal cavity of said visor and fitted to said upper portion of said body.
The visor body may include a plurality of straps extending from the upper and rear portions thereof and adapted for fitting to corresponding parts of said body so as to define the visors shape and openings. The body is most preferably made of a compliant and visually transparent material. The body may include necessary slots or other fastening means adapted to receive said straps. The body may be provided in a flat form which is conformable and fitted to said animals head by drawing said straps around the animals snout and ears and fitting the free end of the straps to the corresponding part of the body.
The pressure strap may be provided with a longitudinal slot to enhance the snug engagement to an animals head including accommodating any occipital bones of prominence.
The pressure strap may be configured to apply sufficient pressure to ensure the visor sits snugly on the animals head whilst remaining comfortable and also providing an internal air gap between the animals head and the upper portion of the visor.
The visor may also be provided with one or a plurality of collar straps to assist fitting by accommodating or separate collar worn by the animal. The upper portion of the body may be provided with score lines to assist in adjusting the length of the visor.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The upper portion may also be provided with optional ventilation holes.
The invention will now be described with reference to the following figures.
FIG. 1 shows a plan view of the template of the protective visor.
FIG. 2 shows a perspective view from the rear of the assembled protective visor.
FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the protective visor fitted to an animals collar.
FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the animal visor as fitted to a dog.
FIG. 5 shows a plan view of a generic visor template.
- 1. Body
- 2. Upper Portion
- 3. Front Opening
- 4. Rear Portion
- 5. Ear Opening
- 6. Pressure-Strap
- 7. Slot
- 8. Chin Strap
- 9. Ear Strap
- 10. Collar Strap
- 11. Receiving Slot/Buckle
- 12. Tab
- 13. Score Lines (Optional)
- 14. Vents (Optional)
Referring firstly to FIGS. 1 and 2, the invention provides a protective visor particularly adapted for use and wearing by an animal, for example a dog. The protective visor can be made up of one piece template cut out of compliant transparent materials including soft polyvinylchloride sheeting of a thickness sufficient to provide adequate protection without unnecessary weight or bulk. The protective visor comprises a body 1 which is adapted to be shaped and conformed to the general shape of an animals head. The body region comprises an upper portion 2 adapted to sit on top of the dogs head and fold around the dogs snout where the action of fitting the visor to an animal draws the upper portion over the dogs head and around either side of the dogs snout so as to form a front opening 3 through which the dogs nostrils and mouth can readily protrude. The visor body further includes a rear portion 4 which is adapted to fold over the rear or back of the animals head behind the animals ears and when drawn back forms two ear openings 5 through which the animals ears can comfortably protrude. The body of the visor further comprises a pressure strap 6 which can optionally be formed as an extension of the rear portion 4 with the pressure strap 6 adapted for folding within the internal space of the shaped visor and fitted to the upper portion 2 of the body. The visor body also includes a plurality of outwardly extending straps which extend from the upper and rear portions of the visor body and are adapted for fitting to corresponding and carefully positioned parts of the visor body such that when the visor is fitted to an animal and the straps drawn around the animals head, the visor of the invention is configured so as to fit to the animals head and to provide the front opening 3 and the ear openings 5.
The visor body is preferably provided in a flat form being easily fitted to an animal by drawing the straps extending from the visor body around the animals snout and ears and fitting the free ends of the straps to the corresponding parts of the visor body. The straps may include a chin strap 8 which, when drawn underneath the animals chin and fitted to the appropriate receiving slot 11 or buckle, causes the upper portion of the visor to fold around the animals snout comfortably leaving the front opening 3. The body may be further provided with ear straps 9 extending from the rear portion of the body such that the ear straps can allow the rear portion 4 to be drawn back over the back of the animals head, underneath the animals ears and fitted to corresponding receiving slots 11 or buckles to the upper portion 2 of the body 1.
The internal pressure strap 6 may be provided with a longitudinal slot 7 such that the pressure strap, when brought to bear down on the top of an animals head, is provided with sufficient compliance and lateral flexibility so as to neatly sit on the top of a dogs skull traversing or accommodating any occipital bones of prominence that might occur in an animals skull, of the like found for example, in beagles. In this manner, the pressure strap 6 is able to provide a gentle and conforming pressure for the visor so as to ensure it fits snugly on a dogs head without wobbling or moving sideways or backwards and forwards. A further advantage of the pressure strap is the provision of an air gap between the upper portion of the visor and the top of the dogs or animals skull as can be seen in FIGS. 3 and 4.
The visor may also be provided with a plurality of collar straps 10 which provide additional anchoring means for the visor which can be further supported on a dogs head by passing the collar straps around the collar worn by the dog or animal.
In order to provide full flexibility for use in a range of animals, the upper portion of the visor body may be optionally provided with a plurality of score lines 13 which allow the length of the upper portion of the visor to be adjusted to fit into animals having long or shorter snouts. The visor upper portion may also optionally be provided with a plurality of vent holes 14 to assist in ventilation, if required.
Referring now to FIG. 4 the visor of the invention is applied to a dog by sitting the flat visor as shown in FIG. 1 on top of the dogs head once a visor of appropriate size has been selected. The pressure strap 6 is then fitted to the receiving slots formed on the upper portion 2 of the body 1 and the visor can then be gently pushed down onto the top of an animals head. The chin strap 8 is then drawn underneath the animals lower jaw and fastened to the opposing side of the upper portion so as to draw the body into the general shape of the dogs head, across the top of the dogs snout so as to provide the front opening 3 through which the dog or animal can readily breathe and eat. The ear straps 9 are then pulled down so as to draw the rear portion of the body 1 over the back of a dogs head with the ear straps 9 being drawn underneath the dogs ear and fitted into the appropriate receiving slots or buckles on the upper portion of the body. Once the chin and ear straps are fitted to the appropriate tightness, the collar straps can then be drawn around and the dogs collar fitted through the collar straps so as to gently, but snugly, fit the visor of the invention to the dogs head. The pressure strap 6 ensures that the visor does not move around in an uncontrolled fashion; but, remains comfortably on the dogs head allowing compliance and movement as the dog opens and closes its jaw and also provides accompanying ear gap between the upper portion of the visor and the top of the dogs head.
In another embodiment of the visor of the invention, the visor as shown in FIG. 1 can be preformed and assembled to the form shown in FIG. 2, prior to fitting to an animal or a dog. When the visor has been preassembled in accordance with the approximate anatomical requirements of the animal, the visor can be easily slid over the dogs head with the dogs snout being gently inserted into the visor and the visor snugly placed onto the dogs head by drawing the dogs ear through the ear opening 5. The only requirement then is for the dog's collar to be passed through the collar straps 10 and the visor is then snugly fitted to an animal. This process can be used and if the visor is found to require adjustment, for example if the visor is too loose it can be withdrawn from the dog's head and adjusted with ease away from the animal and refitted until a perfect fitting configuration is established.
Once the visor of the invention is fitted to a dog its visual transparency and soft compliant texture render the visor virtually unnoticeable by the dog. In a short time the visor almost becomes part of the dogs head and face with the dog becoming rapidly adjusted and almost unaware of the presence of the visor. The visor provides uninterrupted visual comfort to the dog whilst preventing the dog from interfering with its eyes and maximising recuperation from any eye infections or eye surgery.
The particular shape and configuration of the visor can be readily adjusted to fit a wide range of animals whilst falling within the scope of the current invention. The particular embodiment detailed above relates to a dog but many variations of the invention fall within the scope of the current application.
It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.