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Body Condition Score

The Body Condition Score (BCS) is a subjective but fairly accurate method of assessing a dog or cat's body weight.  The BCS system is graded from either 1 - 5 or 1 - 9.  Using a grade of 1 - 9 is the most common method used by veterinarians.  The BCS system of 1 - 5 places a normal body weight at 3 in both dogs and cats.  The BCS system of 1 - 9 places a normal body weight in cats at 5 and a normal body in dogs at 4 - 5 depending upon factors such as breed, size, etc.  It is highly recognized that owners tend to give their pet a lower body weight compared to objective judgement by a veterinarian.  Click on our icon below to download and learn more about the BCS system.  You can grade your dog or cat and determine their weight status.

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Obesity and Weight Management

Overfeeding is the most common reason for obesity in animals today and obesity is the most common problem seen in veterinary medicine only secondary to dental disease.  Obesity affects the entire body and has many effects that severely deteriorate multiple systems in the body, many of them irreversibly.  It is well documented that serious diseases like diabetes, Cushing's disease and Cranial Cruciate Ligament insuffiency are highly connected to obesity.  However over-consumption is not the only factor related to obesity.  It is well documented that obesity is connected to medical issues, age, an inactive lifestyle and the lack of ability to exercise.  The study of obesity has demonstrated that fat in the body is not just inert storage tissue.  Fat is one of the largest endocrine organs secreating large amounts of hormones that affect the entire body.  Fat in overweight and obese animals actually screates hormones that make the animal consume more and gain more weight.  This makes weight loss especially difficult in obese animals.  Weight management has changed dramatically from old days of high fiber diets being the only method of body weight reduction.  It is well recognized that in many overweight and obese animals, feeding high fiber diets will not reduce body weight and in fact will cause an increase in body weight.  It is also well documented that most obese animals have increased risk of injury with forced exercise related to respiratory, cardiac and orthopedic issues and therefore cannot exercise and increase caloric use.  Our hospital treats obesity seriously and we consider it a life-threatening condition.  We have multiple methods of weight loss from high fiber diets to high protein diets to pharmaceutical methods.  With strong owner compliance we can successfully and safely reduce your pet's body weight to optimal levels for a long and healthy life.  Click on our icon below to download an informational handout about obesity and weight loss and management.

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