Quality of Life reflects the balance between positive and negative emotions experienced by an animal and is particularly important to consider in animal shelters where animals can face a myriad of stressors. Quality of Life assessments provide a methodological approach to scoring welfare. They can include physiological measurements and owner-completed questionnaires. In the shelter, Quality of Life assessments can help shelters to identify animals with poor welfare so they can be fast-tracked for intervention and track changes in the welfare of individual animals during their shelter stay. However, most of the existing quality-of-life assessment tools are not suitable for the shelter environment. Many of the tools require the assessor to have a thorough understanding of the animal’s typical behavior and preferences, a prerequisite that is hard to meet in the shelter environment and fail to capture important environmental parameters that are unique to the shelter environment.

The Penn Vet Quality of Life Tool app was developed to provide animal shelters with a practical, research-based method of assessing the quality of life of cats and dogs in their care. The assessment covers three areas of animal welfare: environment, behavior, and physical health. Attendees will learn about the development of the Penn Vet Quality of Life Tool, the contents of the assessment, and the data produced by the app, including the quality-of-life scores and figures. The talk will include preliminary data about the tool’s use in animal shelters and discuss future plans for the app.

This session is part of the Shelter Medicine series, a collaboration between the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.

This live and recorded program is:

Approved for 1 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credit
Pending approval for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE

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