Measuring Sick Cats’ Quality of Life

New tools look for quality of life in dogs and cats with heart disease.

Researchers from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine developed a pair of surveys to evaluate the quality of life for dogs and cats with heart disease.

The surveys, known as FETCH (Functional Evaluation of Cardiac Health) and CATCH (Cats’ Assessment Tool for Cardiac Health), ask owners to rank aspects of their dog or cat’s health on a scale of 0 to 5. Veterinarians are then able to assess the dog’s or cat’s perceived quality of life, which may inform decisions about treatment, nutrition or euthanasia.

The surveys were modeled after the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire human cardiology tool.

The CATCH tool was validated using studies in 75 cats at Tufts’ foster Hospital for Small Animals, the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School and the VCA Animal Care Center of Sonoma County, then tested in 200 cats at the three sites, as well as Oregon State University, Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital of Woburn, Mass., and Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

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