Quality of Life Assessment of Dogs with Urinary Incontinence and Their Owners
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge, UK
Urinary incontinence affects young and adult dogs. It is the most common diagnosis of the urogenital system and a social and hygienic problem. No study has been published that investigated the impact of urinary incontinence on the quality of life (QOL).
To assess the impact of urinary incontinence on the quality of life of dogs and/or their owners.
A QOL questionnaire was developed and presented using the survey software program ‘Qualtrics’. The questionnaire was distributed via social media and to clients of a referral hospital, whose dogs had been presented for investigation of urinary incontinence. Responses were collected between March and May 2016. Data from completed surveys were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.
Of all responses (259), 161 were deemed eligible for inclusion. Seventy-one percent (71%) were female dogs and 90% were neutered. Breeds represented were border collie, terrier, Labrador retriever and springer spaniel.
Sixty-seven percent (67%) of owners agreed that they were worried/stressed about their dog’s incontinence. Thirty percent (30%) of owners agreed that their dog’s quality of life was reduced, although 47% thought that their dog was bothered by the incontinence. Sixty-six percent (66%) of owners had sought investigation of the condition and 49% had implemented practical solutions in the home. Eight (8%) of owners had considered euthanasia of their dog as a direct consequence of urinary incontinence and there was a highly significant association between the severity of the incontinence and whether euthanasia was considered (p=0.0036).
Urinary incontinence can have a wide-ranging impact on both dog and owner, with the owner being primarily affected in a negative way.