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  • Author or Editor: Vianne Timmons x
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Objective—To develop a preliminary discriminative questionnaire for assessment of nonphysical aspects of the quality of life (QOL) of pet dogs and evaluate the questionnaire's content validity, test-retest reliability, and internal consistency.

Study Population—Owners of 120 dogs.

Procedure—Each QOL question had 4 response options, representing descending levels of QOL that were equally weighted. A maximum of 38 items contributed to the QOL score. The questionnaire was administered by telephone to owners of dogs with appointments at a veterinary teaching hospital before the appointment. After the appointment, each dog was classified as sick or healthy by use of defined criteria; owners of healthy dogs had a second interview 3 to 4 weeks later. Test-retest reliability (κ), internal consistency (Cronbach α), and respondents' comprehension were used as criteria for excluding an item.

Results—There were 77 sick and 43 healthy dogs. Twenty-two QOL questions had significant κ values (0.11 to 0.91). The Cronbach α values for 5 domains of QOL ranged from 0.45 to 0.61, indicating that the domains had moderate internal consistency (homogeneity). The initial pool of 38 items was reduced to 27.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The questionnaire was designed to complement veterinary assessment of dogs' physical health. The questionnaire may be a useful tool in making decisions regarding dogs' QOL. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1453–1460)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


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)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research