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Owner and Veterinarian Perceptions About Use of a Canine Quality of Life Survey in Primary Care Settings

By Kennedy K. Mwacalimba, Francesca M. Contadini, Nathaniel Spofford, Karen Lopez, Aimee Hunt, Andrea Wright, Elizabeth M. Lund, Larissa Minicucci

Category Journal Articles

This paper describes dog owner and veterinarian perceptions around the use of a
validated canine quality of life (QOL) survey to facilitate wellness conversations in two
clinical settings: a veterinary teaching hospital (pilot, Phase 1) and five corporate general
practice hospitals (Phase 2). Phase 1 results showed that dog owners felt the survey
was valuable for understanding their dog’s QOL, with 81% of owners expressing interest
in learning more about canine QOL. Phase 2 reinforced owner perceptions about the
survey conveyed during the pilot phase, and veterinarians reported that the survey
facilitated client communication related to preventive care without increasing consultation
time. These results demonstrate that beyond using QOL assessments to track patient
health, the use of a QOL survey during veterinary visits could improve owner-veterinarian
discussions around QOL, wellness, services and preventive care. To fully realize these
benefits in clinical settings, veterinary staff preparation may be needed to communicate
the purpose of QOL assessments to clients and thus facilitate deeper conversations
about client needs and concerns. Key tools for achieving these could therefore include (1)
sufficient veterinary team training to understand the QOL assessment and its purpose (2)
training in how to communicate QOL to clients, and (3) reflexive use of QOL assessment
results to engage clients in preventive care discussions. The veterinarian and client can
then discuss the pros and cons of the various aspects of QOL and preventive care to
arrive at a cooperative decision.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2020
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 7
Pages 11
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2020.00089
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Dogs
  3. Mammals
  4. open access
  5. Pet ownership
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Quality of life
  8. Veterinarians
  1. open access