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Use of a novel morphometric method and body fat index system for estimation of body composition in overweight and obese dogs

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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996
  • | 4 Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc, 400 SW 8th St, Topeka, KS 66601
  • | 5 Alpha Statistical Consulting, 4501 S 54th, Lincoln, NE 68516
  • | 6 Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc, 400 SW 8th St, Topeka, KS 66601

Abstract

Objective—To develop morphometric equations for prediction of body composition and create a body fat index (BFI) to estimate body fat percentage in overweight and obese dogs.

Design—Prospective evaluation study.

Animals—83 overweight or obese dogs ≥ 1 year of age.

Procedures—Body condition score (BCS) was assessed on a 5-point scale, morphometric measurements were made, and visual and palpation-based assessments and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) were performed. Equations for predicting lean body mass, fat mass, and body fat as a percentage of total body weight (ie, body fat percentage) on the basis of morphometric measurements were generated with best-fit statistical models. Visual and palpation-based descriptors were used to develop a BFI. Predicted values for body composition components were compared with DEXA-measured values.

Results—For the study population, the developed morphometric equations accounted for 98% of the variation in lean body mass and fat mass and 82% of the variation in body fat percentage. The proportion of dogs with predicted values within 10% of the DEXA values was 66 of 83 (80%) for lean body mass, 56 of 83 (68%) for fat mass, and 56 of 83 (67%) for body fat percentage. The BFI accurately predicted body fat percentage in 25 of 47 (53%) dogs, whereas the value predicted with BCS was accurate in 6 of 47 (13%) dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Morphometric measurements and the BFI appeared to be more accurate than the 5-point BCS method for estimation of body fat percentage in overweight and obese dogs. Further research is needed to assess the applicability of these findings to other populations of dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2014;244:1279–1284)

Contributor Notes

Supported by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.

Drs. Witzel and Kirk received financial compensation for performing the study, and Dr. Brejda received financial compensation for the statistical analysis of the data. Drs. Paetau-Robinson and Toll are employees of Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.

The authors thank Phillip Leventhal for scientific writing assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Paetau-Robinson (Inke_Paetau-Robinson@hillspet.com).