Quality of Life

How will I know?

Older pets typically have 1 or more medical conditions such as painful osteoarthritis (OA), obesity, or organ disease that over time can greatly affect their quality of life; the ability to enjoy and participate in normal daily activities. The QoL scale with its scoring helps owners assess their pet’s quality of life by using a systematic approach. For each category, at-home care suggestions are included which may help improve and/or maintain an acceptable quality of life for as long as possible. Pet owners must also consider if they are truly able to provide enough care to maintain their ailing pet properly.

  • Physical examination of the pet
  • Quality of Life (QOL) scale assessment.
  • Symptomatic management of the pet (e.g. medications, subcutaneous fluid therapy) as appropriate
  • Review of pertinent medical history
  • Discussion of the euthanasia process and/or pre-planning
  • Lots of TLC for your pet by Dr. Kristin

HHHHHMM Quality of Life Scale

Adapted from Dr. Alice Villalobos (2008)

Ability to control pain
Ability to breathe without impairment
Evaluation of pain control options
Respiratory ​treatment (e.g. oxygen)
Appetite and ability to eat
Different foods (some home-prepared)
Hand-feeding
Hydration status
Ability to stay hydrated
Improve taste of drinking water
Offer water in various containers
Feed high water content food items
Subcutaneous fluid administration
Ability to remain clean
Frequent bandage changes
Diapers
Bathing, brushing
Clipper to gently remove matted hair
Response and interaction with the environment with other pets and with the family.
Identify ​behaviours indicating anxiety, depression, boredom or fear.
Move pet’s bed close to family activities.
Continue familiar routines in familiar surroundings.
Ability to move unassisted
Can perform basic functions (eating, drinking, defecating)
Evaluation of pain control options
Padded sleeping areas
Acupuncture, laser therapy, massage
Ratio of good days to bad days, including quality of the human-pet bond
Evaluation of all palliative options
Considerations for euthanasia
Total Points : 0
A total greater than 35 points is considered an acceptable quality of life and comfort care for the pet should be continued.

However, be advised that respiratory distress and/or unmanageable severe pain are considered top priorities and both must be able to be relieved or there is NO quality of life for the pet.

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