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Evaluation of a Quality-of-Life Tool for Cats with Diabetes Mellitus

Lookup NU author(s): Professor James Shaw


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Background Success in management of diabetes mellitus (DM) is defined as improvement of blood glucose concentrations and clinical signs. However, the psychological and social impact of DM and its daily treatment regimen on quality of life (QoL) of both animal and owner is uncertain. Hypothesis/Objectives To design, validate, and apply a diabetic pet and owner-centered, individualized measure of impact of DM (DIAQoL-pet). Animals/Subjects Two hundred and twenty-one owners of insulin-treated diabetic cats were recruited to complete the DIAQoL-pet. Methods Discussions and pilot surveys with clinicians and owners of diabetic cats led to the design of 29 specific DM-associated QoL questions. Owners of diabetic cats completed the finalized survey. Each item was scored according to impact frequency and perceived importance. An item-weighted impact score (IWIS) for each item was calculated, as was an average-weighted impact score (AWIS) by averaging all IWISs. Principal component analysis and Cronbach's alpha calculation assessed the measure's reliability. Two overview questions measured overall QoL and diabetes-dependent QoL. Results The DIAQoL-pet showed high reliability (Cronbach alpha 0.83). The AWIS was -1.76 +/- 2.4 (mean +/- SD). Areas reported as most negatively impacting QoL included: "boarding difficulties" (IWIS +/- SD: -4.67 +/- 5.3), "owner wanting more control" (-4.34 +/- 4.7), "difficulties leaving cat with friends or family" (-4.21 +/- 4.7), "worry" (-4.10 +/- 3.9), "worry hypo" (-3.67 +/- 3.5), "social life" (-3.48 +/- 3.9), "costs" (-3.04 +/- 3.8), and "work life" (-3.03 +/- 3.7). Forty-one percent of owners believed their cat's life would be "a little better" without DM. Conclusions and Clinical Importance The DIAQoL-pet proved robust and identified specific areas most negatively impacting on diabetic cats and their owners' QoL. This tool warrants further investigation for use in clinical or research settings.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Niessen SJM, Powney S, Guitian J, Niessen APM, Pion PD, Shaw JAM, Church DB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Year: 2010

Volume: 24

Issue: 5

Pages: 1098-1105

Print publication date: 01/09/2010

ISSN (print): 0891-6640

ISSN (electronic): 1939-1676

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing


DOI: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2010.0579.x


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