Evaluation of a questionnaire regarding nonphysical aspects of quality of life in sick and healthy dogs

Janina I. Wojciechowska Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre and the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada.
Present address is the Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia.

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 DVM, MSc
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Caroline J. Hewson Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre and the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada.

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Henrik Stryhn Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre and the Department of Health Management, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada.

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Norma C. Guy Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre and the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada.

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Gary J. Patronek Department of Environmental and Population Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Vianne Timmons Atlantic Veterinary College, and the Department of Education, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the ability of a questionnaire regarding the nonphysical aspects of quality of life (QOL) to differentiate sick and healthy dogs.

Animals—120 dogs.

Procedure—The questionnaire was administered by telephone to owners of 120 dogs with appointments at a veterinary teaching hospital. A QOL score was calculated for each dog on the basis of questions relevant to the dog during the 7 days before the interview. Scores were recorded as bar graphs, and linear regression was used to examine the effect of health status and other variables on QOL score. Certain questions were eliminated post hoc, on the basis of defined criteria, and the analyses were repeated.

Results—Scores were similar for sick (range, 67.0% to 93.8%) and healthy (range, 68.0% to 89.8%) dogs. Environment (suburban vs rural) and duration of ownership were significant explanatory variables and accounted for 10.5% of the variation in the QOL score. Eleven questions were eliminated post hoc. The scores derived from the 2 versions of the questionnaire were highly correlated ( r= 0.92).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—There was no evidence that the QOL questionnaire could differentiate healthy dogs from sick dogs; environmental and owner factors appeared to be more important. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1461–1467)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the ability of a questionnaire regarding the nonphysical aspects of quality of life (QOL) to differentiate sick and healthy dogs.

Animals—120 dogs.

Procedure—The questionnaire was administered by telephone to owners of 120 dogs with appointments at a veterinary teaching hospital. A QOL score was calculated for each dog on the basis of questions relevant to the dog during the 7 days before the interview. Scores were recorded as bar graphs, and linear regression was used to examine the effect of health status and other variables on QOL score. Certain questions were eliminated post hoc, on the basis of defined criteria, and the analyses were repeated.

Results—Scores were similar for sick (range, 67.0% to 93.8%) and healthy (range, 68.0% to 89.8%) dogs. Environment (suburban vs rural) and duration of ownership were significant explanatory variables and accounted for 10.5% of the variation in the QOL score. Eleven questions were eliminated post hoc. The scores derived from the 2 versions of the questionnaire were highly correlated ( r= 0.92).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—There was no evidence that the QOL questionnaire could differentiate healthy dogs from sick dogs; environmental and owner factors appeared to be more important. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1461–1467)

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