New quality of life assessment for dogs - Veterinary Practice
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New quality of life assessment for dogs

Researchers at Mars Petcare have developed a new quality of life assessment to evaluate the well-being of dogs

Researchers from Mars Petcare, including Waltham Petcare Science Institute and Banfield Pet Hospital, developed a quality of life (QoL) assessment that evaluates dog health and well-being.

The assessment is based on a 32-item questionnaire for pet owners to report on their dog’s behaviours and activity. When processed, survey results provide a multi-faceted view of a dog’s health and well-being, covering domains such as energy levels, happiness, mobility, sociability and appetite.

A new study published in Scientific Reports supports the validity of this QoL assessment for measuring and quantifying canine health and wellbeing.

“Well-being is a focal point for dog owners and veterinary professionals alike,” said Nefertiti Greene, president, science and diagnostics, Mars Petcare. “This assessment will allow us to consistently capture dog health and wellbeing data which has been proven to provide scientifically validated insights into pets’ health, ultimately advancing our purpose: a better world for pets.”

In the paper, the QoL assessment’s validity was studied by contrasting the owner survey results to Banfield medical records of the dogs studied. For example, energy and mobility scores were reduced in dogs with osteoarthritis; sociability and happiness domain scores were reduced with the advancing life stage of the dog and the presence of chronic diseases; and appetite scores were reduced in dogs with chronic dental disease.

Results from the study also suggest this assessment can identify general malaise that could otherwise have been undetected when a dog is suffering from underlying pain that may not be easily identifiable.

“From a veterinarian’s perspective, the QoL assessment will deliver valuable information on how veterinary care can help improve pet outcomes,” said Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO, chief medical officer at Mars Veterinary Health. “Based on these insights, we have the potential to understand which treatments and interventions positively impact pet health and well-being and improve communication with pet owners about the health of their pet.”

Pending further validation, this QoL assessment can be used as the basis for digital tools to help dog owners and veterinary teams better track dog wellbeing throughout all stages of a dog’s life.

For more information on the QoL assessment, read the study.

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