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Assessing quality of life in dogs

Published: 7/2/2018

Eliciting information to indicate a pet’s quality of life can be a challenge. Professor Nick Jeffery, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Small Animal Practice, our Official Scientific Journal, highlights a paper that helps to facilitate the provision of this information. Increasingly, owners want not only to prolong their pets’ lives, but also to ensure a good quality of life, especially as their animals age. Unfortunately, during conventional consultation it can be difficult for veterinarians to respond appropriately because relevant aspects of behavior are exhibited away from the clinic and, furthermore, are not intuitively amenable to quantification - which is necessary for determining the effects of any therapy.

Professor Jackie Reid and her colleagues have been grappling with this problem over the past decade and, in this month’s JSAP, they explain the latest iteration of their ‘health-related quality of life instrument’. The aim is to formulate a simplified system that can be used by owners as a smartphone app, thereby providing a conduit for seamless information transfer between owner and vet. Such development is a slow process, demanding patience, meticulous attention to detail and constant refinement. While the subtleties of this process can be difficult for non-experts to follow, the end-results have huge potential for enhancing the relationship between pet owners and primary care veterinarians.

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Free offer for WSAVA members

JSAP has put together a selection of some of its most highly downloaded papers from 2017 into a special free of charge collection for WSAVA members. View the articles.