I’ve long been interested in quality of life as a crucial measure for dogs with skin disease. You simply do not see the whole picture if you only measure the clinical course and there’s an increasing recognition of the importance of quality of life.
That using a vet-applied, long acting treatment like Osurnia can give dogs with otitis and their owners a better quality of life without compromising efficacy (vs. daily at home treatment in the study, Posatex MSD).
This significant improvement in quality of life in the Osurnia group was seen early on in the study and continued to improve until day 28, reaching levels seen in healthy dogs and considered ‘normal’ – this didn’t happen with the control group, in which the treatment was administered at home.
I was stunned by just how big the difference between the two treatment groups was in the quality of life for both the dog and owner. It was also interesting that within the study, cytological improvement and a reduction in pruritus were also seen more quickly in the Osurnia group.
I think because in the control group the owner actually has the whole burden of the therapy. And you really see that in those first two weeks, the quality of life for the owner is not improving significantly.
Compliance is an important issue here; in this study we saw that the at home product led to increased stress in owners and applying treatment at home can lead to stress in owners and pets, and degradation of their relationship, which ultimately leads to treatment failure and poorer quality of life for both owner and the dog. We have the ability as vets to help preserve this bond.
I don’t think the majority of vets appreciate this. But I also think there are owners who don’t dare tell the vet “I'm not able to do this”, and so they will take medications home which either won’t be used or won’t be used correctly. I think it’s important that we as vets use that time in consult to find out if people are comfortable using the treatments we recommend.
Long-acting products are the future, and not just for otitis but for many other types of diseases.
No, there isn’t, but things are changing. We’ve seen more and more articles on quality of life across different fields, and I think we do need to start including it as a variable that’s always assessed. I think slowly but surely the importance of quality of life is reaching general practitioners and the wider public.