Objective: To determine the agreement of canine faecal scoring between individuals with different levels of experience using two available faecal scoring systems. Materials and Methods: Naturally-voided, undisturbed bowel movements from 126 dogs were evaluated by veterinarians (n = 3) and members of the lay public (n = 126) within 15 minutes of defecation. Each participant was provided a copy of the Purina and Waltham faecal scoring charts in order to characterise the faeces. Agreement between veterinarians and lay people was assessed with kappa statistics, Bland-Altman analysis and visualised with Bland-Altman plots. Results: Variable levels of consistency were observed in assessing faecal form among individuals with varying degrees of experience. Fair to substantial agreement existed between individual veterinarians scoring the same bowel movement (kappa statistic ranging from 0.40 to 0.77 on the Purina Scale and 0.54 to 0.61 on the Waltham Scale), while the agreement scores between the veterinarian and the lay public was fair (kappa statistic of 0.38 on the Purina Scale and 0.34 on the Waltham Scale). Disagreement in faecal scores occurred more frequently with lay people versus veterinarians. Clinical Significance: The consistency of faecal scoring improved based on the level of experience with the highest agreement consistently noted between veterinarians. In all comparisons, there was inconsistency in faecal scoring which might have implications for veterinarians managing diarrhoeic canine patients. Further studies are needed to better investigate how faecal scoring can be optimised for use in clinical and research settings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Small Animals