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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Jun 1;226(11):1864-8.

Development and evaluation of a questionnaire for assessing health-related quality of life in dogs with cardiac disease.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.



To develop and evaluate a questionnaire (functional evaluation of cardiac health [FETCH] questionnaire) for assessing health-related quality of life in dogs with cardiac disease.


Prospective study.


360 dogs with cardiac disease


The questionnaire was developed on the basis of widely accepted clinical signs of cardiac disease in dogs. A FETCH score was calculated by summing responses to questionnaire items; possible scores ranged from 0 to 85. For questionnaire validation, owners of 60 dogs were asked to complete the questionnaire and provide an overall assessment of their dogs' quality of life (16 owners completed the questionnaire twice). Disease severity was assessed with the International Small Animal Cardiac Health Council (ISACHC) classification for cardiac disease. Following validation, the final questionnaire was administered to owners of the remaining 300 dogs.


Internal consistency of the questionnaire was good, and the FETCH score was significantly correlated with the owner-reported quality-of-life score and with ISACHC classification. For owners that completed the questionnaire twice, scores were significantly correlated. During the second phase of the study, the FETCH score ranged from 0 to 70 (median, 7) and was significantly correlated with ISACHC classification, but did not vary significantly with underlying disease. For dogs examined twice, the change in FETCH score was significantly greater for dogs in which ISACHC classification improved than for dogs in which ISACHC classification was unchanged.


Results suggest that the FETCH questionnaire is a valid and reliable method for assessing health-related quality of life in dogs with cardiac disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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