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Body condition score in large pure bred dogs: a preliminary study on agreement between owner's perception and scientific evaluation

Authors:

M. Jagatheesan ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About M.
Department of Veterinary clinical Science
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D. D. N De Silva,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About D. D. N
Department of Veterinary clinical Science
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H. M. H. S. Ariyarathna

University of Peradeniya, LK
About H. M. H. S.
Department of Veterinary clinical Science
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Abstract

Obesity is a severe health issue among companion dogs. It may seriously impair the quality of a dog's life predisposing to many other disease conditions. Incorrect assessment of the body condition (BC) of their pets by the dog owners has been identified as an obstacle which would prevent early intervention in canine obesity. This study was designed to assess the degree of agreement between the dog owner's perception of their pet's BC and the scientific assessment of body condition score (BCS). Eighty-two large pure bred dogs were included in the study. Scientific evaluation was performed using 1-5 BCS system proposed by Royal Canin™ (1-emmaciated, 2- thin, 3-ideal, 4-over weight, 5- obese). Following the scientific evaluation the owners were asked to assess their pet's BC using a grading system which included appropriate lay terms to describe the 1-5 scoring positions in the scientific method (1=very thin, 2=thin, 3=ideal, 4=fat, 5=very fat). In addition the knowledge of necessity of feeding adjustments and exercise, health risk of obesity and awareness of scientific BC evaluation methods were evaluated using a short questionnaire. Agreement between the owner's perception and scientific method was analyzed using Fleiss' kappa test. Misperception occurred among 31.71% (26/82) of the owners and there was only a fair agreement (K=0.374321, P<0.05) between two evaluation methods. Interestingly owner misperception about the body condition existed not only in the BCS=4/ Overweight and BCS=5/ Obese groups but also in BCS=2 / Thin group as well. Despite the good knowledge on health risk of obesity and need of exercise among the owners, under estimation was common in BCS=4/ Overweight (40%, 8/20) and BCS =5/ Obese (100%, 5/5) groups which might be a sequela to owner's misperception. In the BCS=2/ Thin group there was a prominent overestimation 3/5 (60%). Only 12.1% of the owners were aware of existence of scientific body condition evaluation methods. Current findings are suggestive of the importance of modifying the owner's perception about their pet's body condition and the necessity of the adequate veterinary intervention through client communication about pet feeding and exercising.
How to Cite: Jagatheesan, M., De Silva, D.D.N. & Ariyarathna, H.M.H.S., (2016). Body condition score in large pure bred dogs: a preliminary study on agreement between owner's perception and scientific evaluation. Sri Lanka Veterinary Journal. 63(2), pp.17–21. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/slvj.v63i2.11
Published on 18 Dec 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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