New quality of life assessment developed to evaluate dogs’ wellbeing

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assessing dogs' wellbeing
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Researchers from Mars Petcare, including Waltham Petcare Science Institute and Banfield Pet Hospital®, have developed a quality of life (QoL) assessment that evaluates dog health and wellbeing. 

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 wellbeing, 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.

“Wellbeing is a focal point for dog owners and veterinary professionals alike,” said Nefertiti Greene, president, Science & 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 scientific paper, the assessment’s validity was assessed by contrasting the owner survey results with Banfield medical records of those dogs studied. For example, it was found that 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 might otherwise not be detected if a dog is suffering from underlying pain that’s not 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, chief medical officer, Mars Veterinary Health. 

“Based on these insights, we have the potential to understand which treatments and interventions positively impact pet health and wellbeing and improve communication with pet owners about the health of their pet.”

Pending further validation, this QoL assessment may also 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. 

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