Quality of Life Assessment Toolsby Dr. Alice Villalobos, DVM
The Human-Animal Bond embraces love and respect for companion animals in society. People are emotionally shocked when their beloved pet is diagnosed with life-limiting or advanced stages of disease. Pet lovers are demanding that veterinarians step up to provide more comprehensive end-of-life services for their pets as long as the pet is able to maintain a good quality of life (QoL).
Many veterinarians don’t know about or avoid the challenges that come with end-of-life care. Why is that? Many veterinarians say they are obligated to the prevention and relief of animal suffering and feel end-of-life care drags out the inevitable. This might sound insensitive to many readers of this book. But most veterinarians try to do what they feel is right. It might be that until recently, veterinary education focused on only three stages of life: the puppy and kitten stage, the adult stage, and the senior stage.
There is a true "Fourth Stage of Life" which has been bypassed even though it might last for quite a while. That fourth stage of life, which the love and tenacity within the human-animal bond will no longer bypass, is "The End of Life Stage." Since it is all about QoL, how can one evaluate, measure or define QoL?
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About the Author:
Dr. Alice Villalobos is a pioneer in cancer care for pets who introduced the concept of “Pawspice” to the veterinary profession for end of life care. She is Director of Pawspice in Hermosa Beach and Animal Oncology Consultation Service in Woodland Hills, CA and is a founding member of the Veterinary Cancer Society, the Association of Veterinary Family Practice and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. Dr. Villalobos is also President Emeritus of the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics (SVME).
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