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Quality of Life Scale

One way to determine if your pet is still enjoying life is by using a "Quality of Life" scale to determine if the animal's basic needs are being met. This scale can be helpful for the veterinarian and pet owner when deciding what is best for your pet. In this scale, pets are scored on a scale of 1 through 10 in each category, with 10 being the highest score for quality of life. Again, only an honest evaluation of each category will help with the decision. Because the scoring is subjective, this score should be a part, but not the sole driver, of your decision based on your pet's individual situation.  ​

Quality of life (HHHHHMMscale)

Score          Criterion

0-10            HURT  Adequate pain control (including breathing ability)

0-10            HUNGER  Is the pet eating enough? Does the pet require hand-feeding or a feeding tube?

0-10            HYDRATION  Is the pet dehydrated? Does it need subcutaneous fluids?

0-10            HYGIENE  Pet needs to be brushed and clean, especially after elimination.

0-10            HAPPINESS  Does the pet express joy / interest? Does it respond to its environment? Does the pet show signs of boredom / loneliness / anxiety / fear?

0-10            MOBILITY  Can the pet get up without assistance does the pet want to go for a walk? Is the pet experiencing seizures / stumbling?

0-10            MORE GOOD THAN BAD  When bad days start to outnumber good days, the quality of life becomes compromised and euthanasia needs to be considered.

A total of 35 points is considered acceptable for a quality of life score.


Adapted from Villalobos, A.E., Quality of Life Scale Helps Make Final Call, VPN, 09/2004, for Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology Honoring the Human-Animal Bond, by Blackwell Publishing, Table 10.1, released 2006.

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