Quality of Life

How will I know?

It is hard to face the reality that chronic, debilitating disease is causing a very obvious shift to more bad days than good days.  We want to do what’s right for our pet but there comes a time when even medical management of symptoms is not enough.  The greatest need for helping pets during their golden years is identifying and treating pain.  For example, a pet suffering from moderate to severe osteoarthritis can have improved mobility with weight loss if overweight and a tailored pain management plan.


Why diet?  Not only is there increase load bearing on already diseased joints but fat contains inflammatory mediators thereby perpetuates the pain.  Furthermore, if you have an overweight dog that has osteoarthritis, an 8% reduction in body fat can significantly reduce the signs of lameness.  Although a little expensive, there are even prescription diets for improving mobility that contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids that are proven to reduce the inflammation that is responsible for chronic pain from osteoarthritis.  If you have financial constraints, there are generic medications available.  Dr. Kristin will support you no matter which path you take.  After all, you have given your pet a wonderful, loving life already.  Pet owners can schedule a Quality-of-Life Consult using the online scheduler.

The QoL scale below 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.

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)
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
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.

Online Scheduler Link