Abstract # 3131 Event # 223:

Scheduled for Monday, September 19, 2011 10:30 AM-10:45 AM: Session 30 (Meeting Room 410) Oral Presentation


S. P. Lambeth, G. K. Wilkerson, A. Hathaway, B. J. Bernacky, S. J. Buchl, J. R. Rogge, S. J. Schapiro, C. R. Abee and W. C. Satterfield
UTMDACC, Department of Veterinary Sciences, Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, 650 Coolwater Drive, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA

Chronic pain and distress are universally accepted conditions that may adversely affect an animal’s quality of life (QOL) and often lead to the humane euthanasia of an animal. At most facilities, a qualified veterinarian, who has physically examined the animal and reviewed the clinical records, ultimately decides when an animal has reached a humane endpoint. Frequently however, pain and distress are difficult to interpret in animals using solely clinical parameters. We are in the process of developing guidelines to behaviorally assess an individual animal’s QOL in order to promote thorough and balanced discussions of the animal’s quality of life, and to help us make the best possible decision for the animal. The guidelines include the creation of a “Quality of Life” team (including veterinarians, pathologists, behaviorists, and husbandry staff) at the time that the animal is diagnosed to have a potentially terminal condition. At this time, a list of behaviors is compiled to quantitatively assess any deviations (either positive or negative) from the normal behavioral repertoire of that individual. Concurrently, the “Quality of Life” team determines the necessary number of behavioral deviations that would trigger an immediate discussion of the necessity for the humane euthanasia of the animal. Once the Quality of Life team has been activated for a specific animal, it remains intact, and the animal’s condition is re-visited as frequently as necessary.