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  • Author or Editor: Charlotte R. Bjornvad x
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OBJECTIVE To investigate whether a controlled physical training plan for overweight dogs during a weight loss program would improve cardiorespiratory fitness and better preserve lean body mass, compared with results for dogs undergoing a weight loss program based on caloric restriction alone.

DESIGN Prospective, nonrandomized clinical study.

ANIMALS 19 client-owned overweight or obese dogs.

PROCEDURES All dogs were fed the same calorie-restricted diet rationed to achieve a weight loss rate of 1% to 2%/wk for 12 weeks. The fitness-and-diet (FD) group participated in a training program that included underwater and land-based treadmill exercise 3 times/wk. The diet-only (DO) group had no change in exercise routines. Daily activity before and during the intervention was recorded by accelerometry. Before and after intervention, heart rate during exercise was recorded to assess cardiovascular fitness, and body composition was analyzed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Differences between groups were evaluated with t tests and multiple regression analysis.

RESULTS Mean weight loss was 13.9% and 12.9% for the FD and DO groups, respectively (n = 8 dogs/group that completed the study). Mean accelerometer counts during intervention were 13% higher than baseline counts for the FD group. Heart rate during exercise declined after intervention in both groups. Lean body mass was preserved in the FD group and lost in the DO group during intervention.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The controlled exercise plan used with a dietary weight loss program prevented loss of lean body mass in dogs. This finding supports inclusion of controlled physical training for obesity management in dogs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To identify minimally invasive biomarkers to help differentiate dogs with gastric carcinoma from those with chronic gastritis.

DESIGN Prospective study.

ANIMALS 15 dogs with gastric carcinoma, 29 dogs with chronic gastritis, and 7 healthy dogs.

PROCEDURES Dogs with clinical signs of upper gastrointestinal tract disease for > 14 days that underwent gastroscopy or necropsy for collection of gastric biopsy specimens for histologic evaluation were prospectively enrolled. Gastric carcinoma and chronic gastritis were diagnosed on the basis of histologic findings. Additionally, gastric biopsy specimens were collected endoscopically from 7 healthy (control) dogs while they were anesthetized for a routine neutering procedure. Prior to being anesthetized for gastroscopy or euthanized, all dogs underwent a physical examination, and a blood sample was collected for quantification of select serum biomarker concentrations. Histologic findings, body condition score (BCS), and serum biomarker concentrations were compared among the 3 groups.

RESULTS Dogs with gastric carcinoma were significantly older and had a significantly lower BCS, lower serum folate concentration, and greater serum C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration, compared with dogs with chronic gastritis and control dogs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that age > 8 years, BCS < 4, serum CRP concentration > 25 mg/L, and an abnormally low serum folate concentration might be useful noninvasive biomarkers for identification of dogs with gastric carcinoma. For underweight older dogs with signs of upper gastrointestinal tract disease and high serum CRP and low serum folate concentrations, gastric biopsy specimens should be obtained and evaluated so that a prompt definitive diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment initiated.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


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.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research