Nevin Manimala Statistics

Development and validation of an owner-assessed Visual Analog Scale for feline pruritus severity scoring (VAScat)

Vet Dermatol. 2022 Aug 3. doi: 10.1111/vde.13103. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Assessment of the severity of pruritus is difficult in cats, because they manifest discomfort by increased licking, increased scratching or both.

HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: Our objective was to develop and validate a feline-specific pruritus scale (VAScat).

METHODS: The scale was designed as a double Visual Analog Scale (VAS), one VAS for licking and one for scratching, with severity and behavioural descriptors. The highest score (VAS-max) on either VAS was taken as the pruritus score for each cat. Owners of 153 cats with skin diseases and of 108 healthy cats scored their pet’s pruritus using the VAScat. Ninety-six of 153 cats with skin diseases also were re-evaluated after four to eight weeks of treatment.

RESULTS: Pearson’s correlation value between VAS-licking and VAS-scratching scores was r = 0.26 (p < 0.01), and Cronbach’s alpha was 0.41. Both indexes indicated that the two scales measure different manifestations of pruritus and supported the use of a dual assessing system. Comparison with a numerical pruritus severity scale (0, absent; 1, mild; 2, moderate; 3, severe) suggested that VAS-licking and VAS-scratching scales taken alone are unsuitable for measuring absent to mild pruritus (grades 0-1), while VAS-max is (p = 0.001). VAS-licking, VAS-scratching and VAS-max all were suitable to assess higher levels of pruritus (grades 2-3, p < 0.01). The VAScat was able to measure pruritus improvement following therapy, as post-treatment scores were significantly decreased compared to pre-treatment ones (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: The VAScat proved to be a useful tool to assess pruritus in cats and for monitoring the response to treatment for pruritus.

PMID:35920060 | DOI:10.1111/vde.13103

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