Validation and preliminary data from a health-related quality of life questionnaire for owners of dogs with cardiac disease

J Vet Intern Med. 2020 May;34(3):1119-1126. doi: 10.1111/jvim.15791. Epub 2020 May 12.


Background: Cardiac disease in dogs impacts the quality of life (QoL) of their owners, but owners' QoL has not been comprehensively assessed in this population.

Objectives: To develop, validate, and provide preliminary data from a health-related QoL (hrQoL) questionnaire for owners of dogs with cardiac disease.

Subjects: A total of 141 owners of dogs with cardiac disease were studied.

Methods: An owner hrQoL (O-hrQoL) questionnaire containing 20 items related to areas of a person's life that could be impacted by caring for a dog with cardiac disease was developed and administered to owners of dogs with cardiac disease. The highest possible total score was 100, with higher scores indicating a worse hrQoL. Readability, internal consistency, face and construct validity, and item-total correlations were assessed.

Results: Median O-hrQoL score was 35 (range, 0-87). The questionnaire had good internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.933), construct validity (Spearman's r = 0.38-0.53; Kendall's τ = 0.30-0.43; P < .001), and item-total correlation (Spearman's r = 0.44-0.79; Kendall's τ = 0.34-0.66; all P < .001). Fifty percent of owners indicated a negative effect of dogs' cardiac disease on their own QoL, but all owners responded that caring for their dogs either had strengthened (n = 76; 53.9%) or had no effect on their relationship with their dog (n = 65; 46.1%).

Conclusions and clinical importance: The O-hrQoL questionnaire had good validity, and results suggest that owners' QoL is significantly impacted by caring for dogs with cardiac disease. Additional research on effective approaches to minimizing the negative effects of a dog's cardiac disease on the owner is warranted.

Keywords: cardiac disease; dilated cardiomyopathy; heart failure; myxomatous mitral valve disease.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / psychology*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / psychology
  • Heart Diseases / veterinary*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ownership
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*

Grant support