Effect of weight reduction on clinical signs of lameness in dogs with hip osteoarthritis

Joseph A. Impellizeri DVM1, Mark A. Tetrick DVM, PhD2, and Peter Muir BVSc, PhD, DACVS3
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  • 1 10 Hilary Ct, Huntington, NY 11743.
  • | 2 Iams Co, 6571 State Rt 503 N, PO Box 189, Lewisburg, OH 45338.
  • | 3 Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.


Objective—To determine the effect of weight reduction on clinical signs of lameness among overweight dogs with clinical and radiographic signs of hip osteoarthritis

Design—Nonblinded prospective clinical trial.

Animals—9 client-owned dogs with radiographic signs of hip osteoarthritis that weighed 11 to 12% greater than their ideal body weight and were examined because of hind limb lameness.

Procedure—Dogs were weighed, and baseline body condition, hind limb lameness, and hip function scores were assigned. Severity of lameness was scored using a numerical rating scale and a visual analogue scale. Dogs were fed a restricted-calorie diet, with amount of diet fed calculated to provide 60% of the calories needed to maintain the dogs' current weights. Evaluations were repeated midway through and at the end of the weight-loss period.

Results—Dogs lost between 11 and 18% of initial body weight. Body weight, body condition score, and severity of hind limb lameness were all significantly decreased at the end of the weight-loss period.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that in overweight dogs with hind limb lameness secondary to hip osteoarthritis, weight reduction alone may result in a substantial improvement in clinical lameness. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:1089–1091)