QUALITY OF LIFE
Whether human, cat, dog, rabbit, hamster, snake or bird, we all want to live life well. We want quality of life, not just quantity of days and years. Throughout our lives, what makes for a life lived well changes, for us and for our pets, as we age and mature, and as our bodies change and adapt to our environments. The question of our pet’s quality of life often comes into focus when something’s not right, and frequently when we’re faced with difficult decisions.
Just as what living well means to us changes over time, so it varies from pet to pet, and in relation to different diagnoses and prognoses. In some cases, such as a Yorkie diagnosed with congestive heart failure, quality of life may not be possible for long after first learning of the condition, and euthanasia may soon be necessary before painful symptoms (like difficulty breathing) manifest. In other cases, like that of a geriatric Labrador with osteoarthritis, the diagnosis may simply lead to a new stage in life, with environmental modification, pain control, and physical rehabilitation/physiotherapy, not only promoting many more days of life, but a life lived well for years to come.
QUALITY OF LIFE SCORING TOOLS
Recognising that quality of life changes as our pets grow and mature, and as they are faced with different challenges throughout their lives, is one thing. Evaluating our pet’s quality of life and knowing what to do, is quite another. ‘How will I know?’ we often ask ourselves. Some folks will tell us, ‘oh, when he stops eating, then it's time’, or, they might say, ‘you’ll just know’. Many of us struggle to know how to answer this question. There are a number of tools that can help us to think about and to evaluate whether our pets are still able to live with a good quality of life:
·Complete a Quality of Life Scale
·And/Or print a monthly calendar and everyday mark if your pet had a good day or a bad day.
A tool developed by Lap of Love is the first app to journal your pet's days on your iPhone/iPad and Android.
Simply download the Grey Muzzle application from the app store and create your pet's profile. Then everyday mark if your pet had a good day, bad day or neutral day. This way you can keep track of those bad days. You should mentally prepare yourself for when your pet has more bad days than good and speak to our vet about intervention. Or you may decide, as a family that if your pet has 30% bad days, it is appropriate to say goodbye. The quality of life can be different based on the disease your pet is struggling with, your pet's personality and your family's beliefs and ability to care for your pet during this time.
The Grey Muzzle application has a calendar so you can visualise the month as well as a summary page of your pet's progress. It is simple to use and free.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD GREY MUZZLE APPLICATION FOR IPHONE/IPAD
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD GREY MUZZLE APPLICATION FOR ANDROID
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