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Item generation and design testing of a questionnaire to assess degenerative joint disease–associated pain in cats

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  • 1 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 2 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 3 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 4 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 5 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 6 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 7 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 8 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 9 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 10 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 11 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 12 From the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory & Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC 27606.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the items (question topics) for a subjective instrument to assess degenerative joint disease (DJD)–associated chronic pain in cats and determine the instrument design most appropriate for use by cat owners.

Animals—100 randomly selected client-owned cats from 6 months to 20 years old.

Procedures—Cats were evaluated to determine degree of radiographic DJD and signs of pain throughout the skeletal system. Two groups were identified: high DJD pain and low DJD pain. Owner-answered questions about activity and signs of pain were compared between the 2 groups to define items relating to chronic DJD pain. Interviews with 45 cat owners were performed to generate items. Fifty-three cat owners who had not been involved in any other part of the study, 19 veterinarians, and 2 statisticians assessed 6 preliminary instrument designs.

Results—22 cats were selected for each group; 19 important items were identified, resulting in 12 potential items for the instrument; and 3 additional items were identified from owner interviews. Owners and veterinarians selected a 5-point descriptive instrument design over 11-point or visual analogue scale formats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Behaviors relating to activity were substantially different between healthy cats and cats with signs of DJD-associated pain. Fifteen items were identified as being potentially useful, and the preferred instrument design was identified. This information could be used to construct an owner-based questionnaire to assess feline DJD-associated pain. Once validated, such a questionnaire would assist in evaluating potential analgesic treatments for these patients.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the items (question topics) for a subjective instrument to assess degenerative joint disease (DJD)–associated chronic pain in cats and determine the instrument design most appropriate for use by cat owners.

Animals—100 randomly selected client-owned cats from 6 months to 20 years old.

Procedures—Cats were evaluated to determine degree of radiographic DJD and signs of pain throughout the skeletal system. Two groups were identified: high DJD pain and low DJD pain. Owner-answered questions about activity and signs of pain were compared between the 2 groups to define items relating to chronic DJD pain. Interviews with 45 cat owners were performed to generate items. Fifty-three cat owners who had not been involved in any other part of the study, 19 veterinarians, and 2 statisticians assessed 6 preliminary instrument designs.

Results—22 cats were selected for each group; 19 important items were identified, resulting in 12 potential items for the instrument; and 3 additional items were identified from owner interviews. Owners and veterinarians selected a 5-point descriptive instrument design over 11-point or visual analogue scale formats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Behaviors relating to activity were substantially different between healthy cats and cats with signs of DJD-associated pain. Fifteen items were identified as being potentially useful, and the preferred instrument design was identified. This information could be used to construct an owner-based questionnaire to assess feline DJD-associated pain. Once validated, such a questionnaire would assist in evaluating potential analgesic treatments for these patients.

Contributor Notes

Supported by Fellowship Research Program of Novartis Animal Health, and the Morris Animal Foundation.

Address correspondence to Dr. Lascelles (Duncan_Lascelles@ncsu.edu).