Background: Effective treatments are needed for idiopathic chronic rhinitis in dogs, but assessment of efficacy requires a practical, quantifiable method for assessing severity of disease. Objectives: To develop and perform initial validity and reliability testing of an owner-completed questionnaire for assessing clinical signs and dog and owner quality of life (QOL) in canine chronic rhinitis. Animals: Twenty-two dogs with histopathologically confirmed chronic rhinitis and 72 healthy dogs. Methods: In this prospective study, an online questionnaire was created based on literature review and feedback from veterinarians, veterinary internists with respiratory expertise, and owners of dogs with rhinitis. Owners of affected dogs completed the questionnaire twice, 1 week apart, to test reliability. Healthy dogs were assessed once. Data were analyzed using the Rasch Rating Scale Model, and results were interpreted using Messick's framework for evaluating construct validity evidence. Results: Initial item generation resulted in 5 domains: nasal signs, paranasal signs, global rhinitis severity, and dog's and owner's QOL. A 25-item questionnaire was developed using 5-point Likert-type scales. No respondent found the questionnaire difficult to complete. Strong psychometric evidence was available to support the substantive, generalizability, content, and structural aspects of construct validity. Statistical differences were found between responses for affected and control dogs for all but 2 items. These items were eliminated, resulting in the 23-item Severity of Nasal Inflammatory Disease (SNIFLD) questionnaire. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: The SNIFLD questionnaire provides a mechanism for repeated assessments of disease severity in dogs with chronic rhinitis.
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