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  • Author or Editor: Dorte H. Nielsen 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 compare 5 patellar position indices at various stifle joint angles in cadavers of red foxes, determine measurement reliability, and assess the suitability of these indices for clinical use.

Sample—Pelvic limbs from cadavers of 12 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes).

Procedures—Patellar position in each limb at 7 stifle joint angles (30° to 148°) was assessed by use of the Insall-Salvati (IS), modified Insall-Salvati (mIS), de Carvalho (dC), patellotrochlear (PT), and Blackburne-Peel (BP) indices.

Results—Values for all indices varied significantly on the basis of joint angle, but for IS and mIS indices, this was minor and nonsignificant between 52° and 130° and between 52° and 148°, respectively. The dC index increased linearly, and PT and BP indices varied polynomially with increases in stifle joint angle. Stifle joint angles measured from radiographs agreed well with the goniometrically set stifle joint angles up to approximately 100° and diverged thereafter. Intraobserver and interobserver agreement was substantial for all indices, and IS index was the most precise.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—IS and mIS index values were effectively independent of stifle joint angle, in contrast to dC, PT, and BP indices. The BP index varied nonsignificantly across a range of joint angles. To maximize angular accuracy, radiographs should not be obtained at joint angles > 100°. Although dC, PT, and BP indices appeared to be suitable for preoperative and postoperative evaluation of patellar position, BP index appeared to have the most promise for determination of patellar position in clinical applications.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


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.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research