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Healthy Caress and Body Score Condition

Healthy Caress and Body Score Condition
Par Marie-Christine Hamelin, TSA, le August 4, 2014


As we discussed in a previous article, overweight is a more and more common health problem in our pets. Here is the second article on this topic.

Before giving a body score condition to an animal, you must first learn to ''feel'' his body condition, and we call that the ''Healthy Caress''. In clinic, we have a visual chart to help give a note and some other tools to determine the healthy weight of your pet.

For evaluation at home, I present you the ''hand technique''. This method has the advantage of being easy to do, anywhere and anytime. The more you do it, the more you can feel the changes as soon as your pet take a little weight.

At each step, place your hands on the ribs of your pet and compare. Your animal will fall into one of those categories.

1- Form a fist with the knuckles forward. Pass the fingers of your other hand on top of the joints : That feeling represents a animal too lean.

2 - Open your hand, with the hand not fully open, a little tense . Pass the fingers of the other hand on the region where the fingers join the palm. This is an animal with overweight, you hardly feel bones under the skin.

3 - With an open hand, fingers extended but sticked together, pass your finger on the inside of your fingers and joints. This is what you should ideally feel when caressing the ribs of an animal : little bumps between each rib, but not the bone through a thin layer of muscle and fat.

Understand that this is not something easy to determine, with only your pet as a reference. Our veterinarians and technicians are better placed to tell you the status of your pet's body condition, because it is part of what we see every time we do a physical exam.

Now we can give a score to your pet. The body condition of an animal is scored on a scale of 1 to 9, with one being extremely thin, while a score of nine means an obese animal. The team of Hopital Vétérinaire Ste-Rose can then advise you on what to do to maintain your ideal weight or undertake a program of weight loss.

So what is the score of your pet ?

Marie-Christine Hamelin, Veterinary techinian.

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