• Open Access

Evaluation of a Quality-of-Life Tool for Dogs with Diabetes Mellitus

Authors


  • Part of the study was presented as an abstract at the annual congress of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association 2009, Birmingham, UK

Corresponding author: S.J.M. Niessen, DVM, PhD, DipECVIM-CA (Internal Medicine), MRCVS; Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK; e-mail: sniessen@rvc.ac.uk.

Abstract

Background

Diabetes mellitus (DM) management primarily focuses on improvement in blood glucose concentrations and clinical signs. A tool to assess the psychological and social impact of DM and its treatment on quality of life (QoL) previously has only been validated for feline DM.

Hypothesis/Objectives

To validate a diabetic pet and owner-centered individualized measure of impact of DM (DIAQoL-pet) for diabetic dogs and their owners.

Animals/Subjects

A total of 101 owners of insulin-treated diabetic dogs were recruited to complete the DIAQoL-pet.

Methods

Discussions and pilot surveys with clinicians and owners of diabetic pets led to the design of 29 specific DM-associated QoL questions. Each item was scored according to impact frequency and perceived importance. An Item-Weighted-Impact-Score (IWIS) for each item was calculated, as was an Average-Weighted-Impact-Score (AWIS) by averaging all IWISs. Principal component analysis and Cronbach's α calculation assessed the measure's reliability.

Results

The DIAQoL-pet showed high reliability (Communalities ≥0.5; Cronbach's α 0.85). The AWIS was −2.74 ± 1.7 (mean ± SD). Areas reported as most negatively impacting QoL included: “worry” (IWIS ± SD: −5.92 ± 4.3), “difficulties leaving dog with friends or family” (−5.68 ± 5.1), “worry vision” (−5.58 ± 4.6), “boarding difficulties” (−5.18 ± 5.2), “worry hypoglycemia” (−4.95 ± 4.3), “social life” (−4.82 ± 4.4), “costs” (−4.11 ± 4.7), and “future care”(−4.07 ± 4.6). Eighty-four percent of owners reported negative impact of DM on QoL.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

The DIAQoL-pet proved robust when used by owners of insulin-treated diabetic dogs and identified specific areas most negatively impacting dogs' and their owners' QoL. This tool could be used as an additional assessment parameter in clinical and research settings.

Ancillary