Historically, the idea of general health probably originated before the existence of healers and healing technology. General health has always been primarily derived from the experience of direct observation of an individual’s appearance and function, initially in the context of survival, and later, in more complex life patterns including occupational and leisure activities. Although everyone recognizes the terms “healthy” and “health”, the domain of general health is rather vague, lacking sharp borders, and dependent on the observer’s subjective impression and bias. Despite this lack of rigid definition, there is obvious substantial overlap in our perceptions, leading to common agreement, in what we expect a healthy, young adult individual to be, especially when contrasted, for example, to an individual who is “sick” or otherwise approaching the twilight zone. “Good health” or “healthy” expresses a conclusion or summary judgment about the overall condition regardless of how it is derived. Moreover, importantly, within the realm of “healthy” there are imprecise gradations of well-being which may significantly affect quality of life. Currently, there is no simple system to compare these gradations and, therefore, no standardized way to measure improvement or decline within the realm of “healthy”.
Since the idea of general health lacks a uniform definition and a system to estimate individual changes within it, the lay public may not easily perceive the value of any particular treatment or intervention (i.e. dietary change). In this regard, the opinion of a health professional may be of limited value, not only because of expense and availability, but because the failure to detect signs of disease does not guarantee good health nor can it explain a change in gradation of well-being.
The above described limitations of the current idea of “general health” may be overcome through the use of the APBAR® system which provides more definition, and also, utility, in the form of a semi-quantitative scale designed to measure changes within this domain.
What is "APBAR®"?
APBAR® is an acronym that denotes the general health status of an individual. APBAR® is a commonly understood description, in lay terms, derived from a composite of the observed features of Appearance, Performance, Behavior, Attitude, and Responsiveness. The manifestation of these five elements may be detected by most lay observers without any special measuring devices nor any formal instruction. Because APBAR® may be based upon not only an assessment of images (e.g. facial expression, posture) but also an impression of functionality( e.g. mobility, cognition), APBAR® summarizes a variable amount of information utilized by any particular observer. The use of the term "APBAR®" may be understood to be a commentary or opinion about the general condition of an animal. Since APBAR® is a non-technical description, APBAR® may be different from the actual general health condition which, ideally, is based on more comprehensive information including technical data.
APBAR® is not
APBAR® is not a medical diagnosis, condition, disease, illness, injury or defect although APBAR® can be impacted by these. Thus, chronic arthritis can negatively affect functionality by limiting mobility. APBAR® is not based upon laboratory or physical measurements although these technical data may co-exist and may even diverge from the lay concept of APBAR®. APBAR® is not a description that requires expert opinion nor technical vocabulary although, in a particular situation, a qualified (professional) observer might use the term “APBAR®” while encompassing additional technical information.
APBAR® for Animals
Through the use of our APBAR™ Scale, you’ll be able to monitor the current health of your animal and to gauge the effectiveness of products, including diets, supplements and other treatments. You, the owner or caretaker, are the key to your pet’s well-being because you see your pet everyday, and you are the best one to detect changes which could indicate the need to visit a veterinarian. In contrast, veterinarians do not monitor your pet’s well being everyday; they must rely on vigilant, informed owners to bring in their animals when there is a suspected problem. APBAR™ gives you an easy to use system for organizing an ongoing perception of your pet’s health status in order to help you spot a new problem at an early stage and to be aware of the signs of worsening or improvement after treatment. For less serious issues, such as trying out a new pet food, APBAR™ can help you decide whether there is a desirable result.
APBAR® , The Easy Way to Determine Health Status
The judgment of an animal’s health status relates to what an average person can observe without any technical measurements or special knowledge. APBAR® simplifies the process of this complex assessment by separating all contributing factors into five categories : APPEARANCE, PERFORMANCE, BEHAVIOR, ATTITUDE, and RESPONSIVENESS.
A few examples of items which may be assigned to each category are:
Posture, muscle tone, skin condition, coat luster, surface hygiene,
Retrieving ball, running, doing tricks, climbing stairs
Socializing, Sleep/Wake pattern, Appetite, Eating and Bowel Habits
Mood, Compliant, Aggressive, Facial expression,
Reacts to Name, Follows commands, Alertness, Memory
Of course, there is a very large array of observations which owners or caretakers know about their pets. After all, pets are individuals and so the appearance and function of each one provides a unique composite profile of its general health status, or APBAR®. Pet owners or caretakers are familiar with a pet’s characteristics and therefore are the best ones to detect a change in the APBAR®.
Major Factors can which influence APBAR®
Aging – For the average individual, beginning with early adulthood, during the ensuing years, there is an expected progressive decline in APBAR®. For example, with the passage of time, skin elasticity decreases, muscle tone diminishes, energy levels become lower, movements and reaction times are slower. There is no question that there is an expected difference in the observed APBAR® of an individual as a young adult, at middle age , and in the twilight zone. Because age related changes in APBAR® are usual, we tend to notice individuals whose APBAR® seems to be older or younger than the actual chronological age.
Heredity – Hereditary , or genetic, factors directly influence APBAR® to varying degrees.
Lifestyle – For example, optimal diet, physical and mental exercise, avoidance tobacco, alcohol and various toxins contribute to a better APBAR®
Environment – Stressful, hazardous conditions may impair APBAR®
Medical Problems – Acute or chronic diseases and injuries may affect APBAR®. The goal of medical management is problem elimination, or at least, the diminution of its impact on APBAR®.