Posted on 21 Oct 2019 in Cats, Disease, Dogs, Darwin

What is My Pet's Quality Of Life

What is my pet's Quality of Life?

It is not always easy to judge how your pet is going ,especially when they are a part of the family and when you see them everyday. Subtle changes may go unnoticed and our furry friends can be very good at 'coping' with illness, pain and distress without showing any obvious signs.

You can print off this helpful table  so you and your family can decide how your pet is travelling, both physically and mentally. If you want, each family member can fill out their own handout and you can compare. Do not hesitate to ask us questions, as this is an important part of deciding whether your answers truly reflect your pet's state of health and happiness

Part 1: Pet's Quality of Life Score: 0= no change; 1= some changes noted; 2 = very different to normal
Desire to be around the family
Interactions with family or other pets (aggression, irritability, playing etc)
Bowel movements
Ability to move around
Normal play activities
Dislikes (e.g. sounds, storms, strangers)
Stress or anxiety levels
Nighttime activity/ sleeping routine
Breathing or panting patterns
Outward signs of pain (discuss with vet )
Pacing around the house
Weight or body condition and muscling
Part 2 : family concerns 0 = no concerns; 1= some concerns; 2= very worried
Your pet's suffering
Your ability to nurse your pet
Your desire to nurse your pet
Your pet dying alone
Not knowing the right time to euthanase
Coping with loss
Concern for other animals in our house hold
Concern for other family members

Quality of life: Interpretation (for the vet)

Part 1: Pet's Quality of Life

  • 0-8 QOL is most likely okay/adequate. No medical intervention required yet but vet's guidance may be needed on signs/symptoms to watch for
  • 9-16: QOL is questionable and medical intervention is suggested. Pet would benefit from veterinary check /tests/meds etc
  • 17-36: QOL is a definite concern. Changes will likely become more progressive and severe. Pet and family would benefit from counselling re: end stages/euthanasia as well as any palliation options to make a more informed decision can be made.

Part 2: Family's concerns

  • 0-4: family has minimal concerns (this does not mean the pet has good QOL!)
  • 5-9: family concerns are mounting.
  • 10-16: Family has significant concerns

Other questions to ask:

  • Have you ever lost a pet before? If so , what are your experiences?
  • What do you hope the life expectancy of your pet will be? What do you think it will be?
  • What is the ideal situation you wish for, for your pet's end of life experience (at home, pass away in her sleep, etc)?

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