Quality of life is accepted as an important predictor of survival among human patients with heart failure. Now, veterinarians at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University have developed two surveys that may prove to be similarly useful in evaluating the quality of life for dogs and cats with heart disease.

Known as “FETCH” (Functional Evaluation of Cardiac Health) and “CATCH” (Cats’ Assessment Tool for Cardiac Health), the surveys ask owners to rank aspects of their dog or cat’s health on a scale of 0 to 5. Veterinarians are then able to assess the animal’s perceived quality of life, which may inform decisions about treatment, nutrition or euthanasia. Researchers found that the FETCH and CATCH scores correlated well to the International Small Animal Cardiac Health Council (ISACHC) classification for disease severity.

The survey tools were developed by Professor of Clinical Sciences Lisa M. Freeman, board certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, and Professor of Clinical Sciences John E. Rush, board-certified cardiologist at the veterinary school’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals. vet.tufts.edu