Quality of Life Measurement in Prospective Studies of Cancer Treatments in Dogs and Cats

Michelle Giuffrida, S. M. Kerrigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Quality of life (QOL) is an important consideration in healthcare decision-making for pets with cancer. To determine the effect of disease and treatment on pet QOL, this important variable should be objectively measured as an outcome in veterinary cancer studies. Objectives: To determine the prevalence and methodology of QOL measurement in a sample of recently published reports of prospective studies evaluating cancer treatments in client-owned dogs and cats; to characterize reporting of QOL outcomes and to identify article characteristics associated with QOL measurement. Methods: English-language reports of prospective studies of cancer treatments in dogs and cats published from 2008 to 2013 were identified using medical research databases combined with a hand-searching strategy. Data pertaining to general article characteristics and QOL measurement were abstracted and summarized. Results: Reports of 144 eligible studies were identified. QOL was measured in 16 (11.1%) studies, with 8 (5.6%) reporting the results. All studies that measured QOL reported using unvalidated instruments, or did not report how QOL was assessed. Only 1 study provided sufficient information for QOL measurements to be replicated. Recently published articles (2011-2013) were significantly more likely to report measuring QOL, compared with earlier articles. Conclusions: Quality of life of pets undergoing cancer treatment is largely unreported and cannot be meaningfully compared across treatments or disease states using the existing literature. Reliable, validated instruments are needed to facilitate the measurement and comparison of pet QOL in veterinary cancer research. Consistent reporting practices could improve transparency and interpretation of QOL results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1824-1829
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cat
  • Clinical trials
  • Dog
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Oncology
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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