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Validity and Responsiveness of the Generic Health-Related Quality of Life Instrument (VetMetrica™) in Cats With Osteoarthritis. Comparison of Vet and Owner Impressions of Quality of Life Impact

Scott, E. Marian; Davies, Vinny; Nolan, Andrea M.; Noble, Cory E.; Dowgray, Nathalie J.; German, Alexander J.; Wiseman-Orr, M. Lesley; Reid, Jacqueline


E. Marian Scott

Vinny Davies

Cory E. Noble

Nathalie J. Dowgray

Alexander J. German

M. Lesley Wiseman-Orr

Jacqueline Reid


Validity is not an inherent property of a measurement scale and so evidence for validity relating to its use for particular purposes, with defined populations and in specified contexts must be accumulated. We have published the development of a web-based, generic health-related quality of life instrument (VetMetrica™) to measure the affective impact of chronic disease in cats and provided evidence for its validity in a mixed population of cats, some of which, according to veterinary judgement, were healthy and others of which were suffering from chronic conditions likely to affect their quality of life, often with multiple co-morbidities present. The first aim of the current study was to demonstrate the construct validity of the VetMetrica™ generic instrument when used with cats suffering from osteoarthritis, by testing the hypothesis that the health-related quality of life profile of cats with different severities of osteoarthritis would differ and by demonstrating convergent validity between the health-related quality of life profile scores and independently quantified vet-assessed pain and quality of life impact scores. The latter involved simple correlation analysis and investigation of the relationship between health-related quality of life domain scores and vet-assessed scores, when adjusted for other potential explanatory variables including number of comorbidities and age. Responsiveness—the ability to detect clinically relevant change—is an essential quality for an evaluative instrument and it also provides evidence for “longitudinal validity”. Therefore, a second aim of this study was to demonstrate that changes in health-related quality of life domain scores concurred with the clinician's impression of change over time in the health status of cats with osteoarthritis, thus providing evidence for the instrument's responsiveness. Previously, we have reported disagreement between owner and vet impression as to health status in cats in general, but not in relation to any specific disease. Accordingly, the third study aim was to investigate the extent of agreement or disagreement between owner impression of the impact of osteoarthritis on their cats' quality of life and vet impression of such impact. Fifty one percentage of cat owners believed their cats to be perfectly healthy despite a clinician diagnosis of osteoarthritis.


Scott, E. M., Davies, V., Nolan, A. M., Noble, C. E., Dowgray, N. J., German, A. J., …Reid, J. (2021). Validity and Responsiveness of the Generic Health-Related Quality of Life Instrument (VetMetrica™) in Cats With Osteoarthritis. Comparison of Vet and Owner Impressions of Quality of Life Impact. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 8, Article 733812.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 2, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Oct 28, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 28, 2021
Journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Article Number 733812
Keywords health–related quality of life, construct validity, responsiveness, osteoarthritis, owner opinion, known groups, convergent validity, co-morbidities
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This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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