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Evaluation of a nine-point body condition scoring system in physically inactive pet cats

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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 5 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • | 6 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • | 7 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • | 8 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • | 9 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract

Objective—To compare results of body condition scoring by use of a 9-point scale with body composition determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) in indoor-confined neutered domestic shorthair (DSH) pet cats.

Animals—72 indoor-confined, adult neutered DSH pet cats (38 females and 34 males).

Procedures—All cats underwent a physical examination including assessment of body weight (BW), body condition score (BCS; 1 = emaciated, 5 = ideal, and 9 = grossly obese), and girth. Urinalysis, CBC, and serum biochemical analysis were also performed. After the cats were confirmed healthy, they were anesthetized for body composition measurement via DEXA. Lean body mass, fat mass, and percentage body fat (%BF) were then evaluated.

Results—The correlation between %BF and BCS (r = 0.87) was superior to the correlations between %BFand BW (r = 0.74) and between %BF and girth (r = 0.78). Values for %BF differed significantly between all pairs of BCSs except BCSs 8 and 9. Within a BCS, the %BF was similar for male and female cats. The mean %BF for cats with a BCS of 5 was 32, which exceeded the upper reference limit of %BF generally considered ideal (30).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The 9-point BCS scale appears useful for assessing %BF in DSH pet cats. Nevertheless, study findings could indicate a need for redefining the ideal BCS for inactive neutered cats to include a BCS of 4.

Abstract

Objective—To compare results of body condition scoring by use of a 9-point scale with body composition determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) in indoor-confined neutered domestic shorthair (DSH) pet cats.

Animals—72 indoor-confined, adult neutered DSH pet cats (38 females and 34 males).

Procedures—All cats underwent a physical examination including assessment of body weight (BW), body condition score (BCS; 1 = emaciated, 5 = ideal, and 9 = grossly obese), and girth. Urinalysis, CBC, and serum biochemical analysis were also performed. After the cats were confirmed healthy, they were anesthetized for body composition measurement via DEXA. Lean body mass, fat mass, and percentage body fat (%BF) were then evaluated.

Results—The correlation between %BF and BCS (r = 0.87) was superior to the correlations between %BFand BW (r = 0.74) and between %BF and girth (r = 0.78). Values for %BF differed significantly between all pairs of BCSs except BCSs 8 and 9. Within a BCS, the %BF was similar for male and female cats. The mean %BF for cats with a BCS of 5 was 32, which exceeded the upper reference limit of %BF generally considered ideal (30).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The 9-point BCS scale appears useful for assessing %BF in DSH pet cats. Nevertheless, study findings could indicate a need for redefining the ideal BCS for inactive neutered cats to include a BCS of 4.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Bjornvad (crb@life.ku.dk).

Supported by the Danish Research Councils, programme 271–07–0096.

Presented in abstract form at the 26th Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, San Antonio, Tex, June 2008.