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Questionnaire to assess arthritis in cats

Benito J, DePuy V, Hardie E, et al. Reliability and discriminatory testing of a client-based metrology instrument, feline musculoskeletal pain index (FMPI) for the evaluation of degenerative joint disease-associated pain in cats. Vet J. 2013; 196: 368-73.
There are no approved drug therapies in North America for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain in the cat. Partly this is due to a lack of validated assessment tools for the use in clinical trials, such as an owner-completed questionnaire. From previous work the authors performed in their laboratory, they have identified items that might be valid for inclusion in such a questionnaire and have also identified the preferred structure of the questionnaire.
With this study, they wanted to evaluate the readability, reliability, repeatability, and discriminatory ability of an owner-completed questionnaire to assess feline degenerative joint disease (DJD)- associated pain called the feline musculoskeletal pain index (FMPI). They believe such a questionnaire would be reliable and have discriminatory validity. The FMPI included 21 questions. Eighteen of the questions asked about the cat’s ability to perform different activities (activity factors), two asked about pain intensity (severity factors), and one question related to overall quality of life. There were challenges in assessing repeatability because there is often poor correlation between radiographic evidence of DJD and pain on manipulation plus there is no way to objectively assess the level of mobility impairment. 

A total of 32 client owned cats were enrolled in the study, and owners completed the FMPI on two occasions, 14 days apart. Results indicated that the reliability of the FMPI was excellent and repeatability was good for normal and pain-DJD cats. It was noted that all components of the FMPI were able to distinguish between normal cats and cats with DJD. The FMPI though did not discriminate between disease severity subgroups, especially those containing small numbers of cats. [VT]

See also: Benito J, Hansen B, DePuy V, et al. Feline musculoskeletal pain index: responsiveness and testing of criterion validity. J Vet Intern Med. 2013; 27: 474-82.