Validation of a Health-Related Quality-of-Life Scale for Dogs with Generalized Body Itching
A.V.B. Yazbek; V.U. Fonseca; C.E. Larsson
The objective was to develop and validate a health related quality of life scale for dogs with generalized body itching. For this purpose, a questionnaire containing 11 questions, with 3 options each, was developed. The answers were numbered from zero to two and the sum of the scores amounted to score for quality of life (QOL), the maximum possible score being 22. The lowest score (zero) indicates the "worst LQ" and the highest score (22) indicates the "best QOL". The sample was composed of eighty animals of the canine species, regardless of race, sex and age, seen at the Dermatology Service (SD), Department of Clinical Medicine (VCM) and at the Veterinary Hospital (HOVET) of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science of the University of São Paulo (FMVZ / USP), as well as dogs that regularly visit the Ibirapuera Park (Sao Paulo). These animals were divided into four groups. Group 1 (G1) was composed of 20 healthy dogs owned by veterinarians. Group 2 (G2) was composed of 20 healthy dogs owned by nonveterinarians. Animals from both G1 and G2 had no history of skin disorders or any other morbid changes in other organic systems. Group 3 (G3) included dogs with discreet ophthalmic alterations, such as sclerosis of the nucleus of the lens and "Florida spots", and dogs with dental alterations, such as periodontal calculus grade I and II and deciduous teeth, which do not cause any interference in the animal's quality of life. Group 4 (G4) was composed of animals with marked itching, being this symptom the main complaint reported by the owners. To validate the Quality of Life Scale, the results of pruritic dogs, included in Group 4 (G4), were compared with those from dogs in the control group (G1, G2 and G3). There was no statistically significant difference (p > 0.05) between Groups 1, 2 and 3. However, there was a statistically significant difference between Groups 1, 2 and 3 when compared with Group 4 which consists of pruritic dogs (p < 0.05). This study shows the importance of the impact of itching in the quality of life of its carriers. Results suggested that a simple questionnaire may be useful in assessing health related quality of life in dogs with generalized body itching.