Is My Pet Overweight?

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New Years is often a time for reflection and setting new goals, and one of the most common resolutions is to lose weight … that is for people. How do you know if your pet needs to shed a few pounds also?

Veterinarians and veterinary technicians can evaluate your pet to determine its Body Condition Score (BCS), then make diet and lifestyle recommendations to help your pet reach a more ideal BCS.

Body Condition Scoring involves observation of your pet from above and the side, as well as palpating (feeling) over the ribcage. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are looking and feeling for the amount of fat over certain areas of the body such as the ribcage, a defined waist (when observing from above), and an abdominal tuck (when observing from the side).

There are a number of scoring systems in use however in general a pet is considered severely underweight (or underfed) if ribs, pelvic bones and vertebrae (and loss of muscle mass) are evident from a distance, with no discernable fat tissue on feeling over the ribcage, and very prominent waist and abdominal tuck. A pet is considered severely overweight (or overfed) if massive fat deposits are observed and felt over the chest, rump and neck, with no waist or abdominal tuck evident. An ideal BCS is assigned when ribs are palpable with minimal but discernable fat covering, no visible ribcage from a distance, and evident but not prominent waist and abdominal tuck.

Caution: These news items, written by Lifelearn Inc., are licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn Inc. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by our clinic veterinarian.