Objective—To develop and evaluate a questionnaire
(functional evaluation of cardiac health [FETCH] questionnaire)
for assessing health-related quality of life in
dogs with cardiac disease.
Animals—360 dogs with cardiac disease.
Procedure—The questionnaire was developed on the
basis of widely accepted clinical signs of cardiac disease
in dogs. A FETCH score was calculated by summing
responses to questionnaire items; possible
scores ranged from 0 to 85. For questionnaire validation,
owners of 60 dogs were asked to complete the
questionnaire and provide an overall assessment of
their dogs' quality of life (16 owners completed the
questionnaire twice). Disease severity was assessed
with the International Small Animal Cardiac Health
Council (ISACHC) classification for cardiac disease.
Following validation, the final questionnaire was
administered to owners of the remaining 300 dogs.
Results—Internal consistency of the questionnaire
was good, and the FETCH score was significantly correlated
with the owner-reported quality-of-life score
and with ISACHC classification. For owners that completed
the questionnaire twice, scores were significantly
correlated. During the second phase of the
study, the FETCH score ranged from 0 to 70 (median,
7) and was significantly correlated with ISACHC classification,
but did not vary significantly with underlying
disease. For dogs examined twice, the change in
FETCH score was significantly greater for dogs in
which ISACHC classification improved than for dogs
in which ISACHC classification was unchanged.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that the FETCH questionnaire is a valid and reliable
method for assessing health-related quality of life
in dogs with cardiac disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc