Effect of long-term management of hypoadrenocorticism on the quality of life of affected dogs and their owners
Background Methods Results Conclusions
BackgroundThe treatment of canine adrenal insufficiency consists of hormone substitution and requires high owner compliance and intense human-dog interaction. This might affect the quality of life (QoL) of owners and their pets. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of hypoadrenocorticism and its treatment on the QoL of dogs and their owners.
MethodsOwners completed a web-based survey that contained items concerning signalment, owner QoL, dog QoL and long-term therapy.
ResultsThree hundred and twenty-two owners participated. Most owners feared an adrenal crisis. Approximately half of the participants reported that the bond between them and their pet increased after diagnosis. Although many participants felt that their own QoL was not affected by their dog's disease, worries about costs and leaving their dog unsupervised were frequently reported. Half of the study participants increased their dog's glucocorticoid doses when a stressful situation was foreseeable ('boosting' of therapy). Some administered hydrocortisone, mostly switched from prednisolone, resulting in a reduction in side effects.
ConclusionsSpecial attention should be given to glucocorticoid therapy and owner's QoL. The overall worry of an adrenal crisis might increase caregivers' burden, reducing their overall QoL. Hydrocortisone might be a safe alternative to prednisolone, but further research is necessary to evaluate its long-term efficacy and safety in dogs.