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Association between subcutaneous fat thickness measured on thoracic radiographs and body condition score in dogs

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether subcutaneous fat thickness measured on thoracic radiographs was associated with body condition score (BCS) in dogs.

Animals—87 client-owned dogs (41 males and 46 females) with a median age of 10.0 years (range, 1 to 16 years) and median weight of 20.3 kg (range, 3.1 to 58.0 kg).

Procedures—Age, sex, body weight, and breed were recorded. Body condition scores (scale from 1 to 9) and muscle condition scores were assigned by a single investigator. Subcutaneous fat thickness was measured at the level of the eighth rib head on a dorsoventral or ventrodorsal radiographic view of the thorax by a single investigator. Ratios of subcutaneous fat thickness to the width of the midbody of T8 on the ventrodorsal or dorsoventral radiographic view (T8 ratio) and to the length of the midbody of T4 on a right lateral radiographic view (T4 ratio) were calculated and compared with BCS by means of the Spearman correlation method.

Results—Median BCS was 6 (range, 1 to 9), and all muscle condition scores were represented. There were significant correlations between BCS and T4 ratio (r = 0.86) and between BCS and T8 ratio (r = 0.84).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that in this population, there was a significant association between BCS and subcutaneous fat thickness measured on thoracic radiographs. Findings suggested that measuring subcutaneous fat thickness could aid in the retrospective assignment of BCS in studies involving dogs in which BCS was not recorded in the medical record.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Linder's faculty appointment was supported by Royal Canin USA.

Presented in abstract form at the 2012 American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium, New Orleans, May 2012.

The authors thank Robin Ruthazer, Associate Director of the Tufts CTSI Research Design Center/Biostatistics Research Center (supported by the National Center for Research Resources Grant No. UL1 RR025752 and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Grant No. UL1 TR000073) for assistance with statistical analyses.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Address correspondence to Dr. Linder (Deborah.Linder@tufts.edu).