Objective Input to End of Life Decisions




To euthanise a companion animal is a terribly difficult decision. Owners are conflicted by the desire not to see an animal suffer needlessly, yet horribly conflicted over “playing God” with the life of an often beloved, family pet.

It’s tough enough for a veterinary professional to witness this anguish, without the added burden of having to deliver a usually unwelcome recommendation. The tendency for some owners is to blame the vet, even while abdicating responsibility for making an essentially subjective call.

End of life decisions are not the primary function of NewMetrica’s health-related quality of life (HRQL) measurement tools but the ability to deliver objective, reliable and clinically proven metrics on quality of life when euthanasia is being considered is an increasingly important function for our tools.

As human medicine has become more adept at prolonging life at all costs, so too have advances in veterinary science made euthanasia a less straightforward option.

Owners may set their moral compass by prolonging life, while for a veterinarian, the overall wellbeing of the animal takes compassionate precedence even over life itself.

NewMetrica HRQL tools remove this subjectivity and can assist vets to deliver not only a judgement but objective justification for end-of-life decisions. Especially where the health-related quality of life of a companion animal has been monitored objectively over time, it is much easier to identify when pain and illness cross an invisible barrier where prolonging life can no longer offer comfort to either animal or owner.

Prof Jacky Reid of NewMetrica says, “It’s sometimes not too hard to recognise when a pet is in pain but suffering can go way beyond pain itself. It may involve chronic nausea, serious aches, fear, depression and disorientation for the animal, which it can neither describe nor alleviate. Our observational regime can be carried out at home, in the animal’s own environment, and provide comfort for an owner facing the responsibility of an agonisingly unwanted decision.”

The VetMetrica scale is only available under the management of professional veterinary practices and it is the only tool currently available which has been clinically validated as a measure of HRQL in sick as well as healthy animals.

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