Body Condition Scoring and DEXA Measurements in Physically Inactive Domestic Shorthaired Cats
ACVIM 2008
C.R. Bjornvad1; P.J. Armstrong2; D.H. Nielsen1; E. Svalastoga1; A.T. Kristensen1
1Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN, USA

In cats and humans, obesity is predisposing to development of type 2 diabetes. Further, physical inactivity and indoor confinement predisposes for development of type 2 diabetes mellitus in cats. The purpose of this study was to determine the percentage of body fat in indoor confined physically inactive normal and overweight domestic shorthaired cats.

Twenty-five physically inactive and indoor confined domestic shorthaired cats were recruited through the Companion Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Informed consents were obtained from all owners. At admission, the cats underwent a thorough health examination including physical exam, body condition scoring (9-point scale), urine analysis, haematological and biochemical blood profile including T4-measurement and FIV/FeLV-testing. 2 cats were excluded following the health examination. For the remaining 23 cats, body composition and whole body bone mineral density was assessed under anaesthesia using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).

All 23 cats had been neutered (nine females and 14 males). Median age was 6 years (range 3-11). Following body condition scoring, the cats were divided into 4 groups BCS5 (n=5), BCS6 (n=6), BCS7 (n=7) and BCS8 (n=5). No cats had a BCS less than 5 or above 8. Females and males were equally distributed in all groups except BCS8 that only included male cats. The cats in BCS5 were younger (3 years (range 3-5)) than cats in the other groups (7 years (range 3-11)). Percent body fat for the groups were BCS5: 31.3% (range 27.4-33.7), BCS6: 37.4% (range 32.5-40.7), BCS7: 43.6% (range 34.4-49.0) and BCS8 47.9% (range 44.1-52.2). Percent body fat was significantly different between all groups. There was no difference in Bone Mineral Density (g/cm2) between groups or between males and females.

According to the 9 integer scale BCS system a BCS of five is considered normal weight. On the other hand, normal weight cats should have a body fat content of less than 30%. The relatively high body fat content in the normal weight cats in this study could be attributable to the sedentary lifestyle following indoor confinement. The physical inactivity may result in less lean body mass compared with kennel cats measured in earlier studies. Concurring with other studies, cats start to gain weight at three to five years of age and male neutered cats tend to become fatter than female neutered cats.

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Charlotte Bjornvad


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