Systematic review of the factors affecting cat and dog owner compliance with pharmaceutical treatment recommendations

Vet Rec. 2019 Feb 2;184(5):154. doi: 10.1136/vr.104793. Epub 2018 Nov 19.


The aim of this systematic review is to describe and assess the quality of the existing evidence base concerning factors that influence the compliance of cat and dog owners to pharmaceutical and specifically polypharmacy treatment recommendations. PubMed, CAB Abstracts and Google were searched to identify relevant literature and search results were filtered according to predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Standardised data extraction and critical appraisal were carried out on each included study, and a Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine level of evidence grading was applied. Of the 8589 studies, eight studies were included in the review. Majority (five of eight) of the included studies were examining compliance with short-term antimicrobial therapies and none examined polypharmacy. Multiple definitions of compliance, methods of measurement and different factors potentially affecting compliance were used. Factors reported to have affected compliance in at least one study were dosing regimen, discussion of dosing regimen in light of owners' circumstances, consultation time, disease, month of consultation/treatment, physical risk, social risk and method of administration. The evidence available regarding factors affecting client compliance with pharmaceutical treatment recommendations in cats and dogs is scarce and of poor quality.

Keywords: cats; compliance; dogs; pharmacology; polypharmacy; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cats
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ownership*
  • Polypharmacy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Veterinary Drugs / therapeutic use*


  • Veterinary Drugs