Short Takes

April 2008 Issue

Short Takes: 04/08

Measuring quality of life and extent of veterinary care; bacteria sharing

It’s one of the toughest choices a pet owner can face — between life-saving treatment and quality of life for the pet. During chemotherapy for lymphoma, the third most common form of cancer in cats, for example, the patient might lose hair, appetite, weight, sleep or even its whiskers. Some help in deciding, if the difficult time ever comes, can be found in a Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (Vol. 10, Issue 1) report: "Owners’ perception of their cats’ quality of life during chemotherapy for lymphoma." Of the 31 cat owners queried for the study, 25 (81 percent) said they were happy that they had treated their cat with chemotherapy, whereas three felt regretful and three were unsure of their feelings. Most of the owners (19) reported that their cats had "more good days than bad" during chemo; seven reported more bad days than good (including one cat that was miserable every day of the treatment); and four cats had "all good days." Despite the treatment, some cats did die of lymphoma or related causes. Obviously those owners were not happy with their pet’s eventual fate, but few regretted trying their best to save a life.

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