Psychometric properties of the canine symptom assessment scale, a multidimensional owner-reported questionnaire instrument for assessment of physical symptoms in dogs with solid tumors

Michelle Giuffrida, John T. Farrar, Dorothy Cimino Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE To describe development and initial psychometric testing of the Canine Symptom Assessment Scale (CSAS), a multidimensional owner-reported questionnaire instrument, in a population of dogs with solid tumors enrolled in clinical trials. DESIGN Questionnaire development and validation study. ANIMALS 238 client-owned dogs with solid tumors. PROCEDURES A 14-symptom questionnaire was developed. Symptoms were defined as subjective physical disturbances dogs experienced during the course of daily living as assessed through proxy reports of pet owners. For each symptom, owners reported frequency and severity of the symptom and extent of distress caused by the symptom for the dog and the owner. Questionnaire content, symptom prevalence and dimensionality, internal consistency, and factor structure were examined. Construct and criterion validity were examined via comparison with the Canine Brief Pain Inventory (CBPI). RESULTS Symptom prevalence was high, with pain and lack of energy reported in most dogs. Severity, versus frequency, was most highly correlated with both dog and owner distress. Two symptoms were removed from consideration because of poor performance. Analysis of the remaining 12 symptoms revealed that they could be grouped into 3 factors: malaise, anxiety, and digestive upset. The CSAS factor and total scores demonstrated predictable relationships with quality of life and pain scores as measured by the CBPI, including a significant association between increasing symptom burden and decreasing quality of life. The Cronbach α for the CSAS was 0.77. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The 12-item CSAS was a psychometrically sound owner-reported instrument for assessment of symptom frequency and characteristics in client-owned dogs with solid tumors. Potential applications include clinical research and practice settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1414
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2017
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

Cite this