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Quality of Life for Cats with Heart Disease

Reynolds C, Oyama M, Rush J et al: Perceptions of quality of life and priorities of owners of cats with heart disease, J Vet Intern Med 24:1421, 2010.

A shared goal of veterinarians and the owners of cats with heart disease is to provide high quality of life (QoL) while achieving the extension of quantity of life. Because heart disease in cats is rarely cured with treatment, therapy is directed to palliation of clinical sings and maximizing survival time with a progressive disease. Treatment usually consists of medications that improve QoL. This study utilized a questionnaire to owners of 239 cats with heart disease to help identify important parameters when assessing their cat’s QoL, the importance of quality versus quantity of life, and willingness to trade survival time for QoL. Deemed important to QoL were parameters such as appetite, owner interaction, sleep patterns, and litter box habits. Most owners did not feel it was difficult to administer oral medications to their cat though a large enough number indicated their cat was extremely difficult to medicate. The level of concern by owners increased as the number of medications and dosing frequency increased. Owners have significantly greater concern over pet suffering than concern over life expectancy. Most (93%) of owners were willing to trade survival time for good QoL. These priorities and concerns of owners of cats with heart disease should be taken into account by veterinarians in their pursuit to provide optimal care. [VT]

Related articles:
Payne J, Luis Fuentes V, Boswood A et al: Population characteristics and survival in 127 referred cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (1997 to 2005), J Small Anim Pract 51:540, 2010.