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Quality of Life for Cats with Diabetes

Niessen S, Powney S, Guitian J et al: Evaluation of a quality-of-life tool for cats with diabetes mellitus, J Vet Intern Med 24:1098, 2010.

Clinically, treatment success for feline diabetes is defined as obtaining close to normal serial blood glucose concentrations along with improving fructosamine levels, in conjunction with the resolution of key clinical signs of diabetes mellitus (polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, and weight loss). Evaluating treatment success often does not include recording the psychological and social effects of the impact of diabetes mellitus (DM) and the complex daily treatment regimen on quality of life (QoL) of both cat and owner, as well as the perceptions of the disorder and its management by the owner. The objective of this study was to design, validate, and apply a diabetic pet and owner-centered, individualized measure of impact of DM (DIAQoL-pet). Two hundred twenty-one owners of diabetic cats were surveyed to complete the DIAQoL-pet tool. Discussions and pilot surveys lead to the design of 29 specific DM-associated QoL questions. Evaluating the top 10 items with the most negative impact proved the importance of recording the impact of treatment on the owner’s life in addition to the animal’s QoL. Nine of the top 10 items were more associated with the owner’s QoL than the cat’s QoL. One discrepancy noted was between the perceived high impact of worrying about hypoglycemia and the perceived lower impact of hypoglycemia actually occurring. The authors concluded the DIAQoL-pet was able to reliably quantify diabetes-dependent QoL of diabetic cats and their owners plus identified specific areas impacted by DM and its treatment.  [VT]

Related articles:
Rucinsky R, Cook A, Haley S et al: AAHA diabetes management guidelines, J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 46:215, 2010.