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Body Condition Scoring

A health assessment method useful for many species

Body condition scoring systems were originally designed to evaluate fat and muscle development in livestock. Scoring techniques for many species, including rodents, have since been published and are widely used to assess health and fitness in animals. Body condition scoring offers an objective and easy to use assessment method that can be incorporated into humane endpoints. Use of body condition scoring can provide a more accurate determination of health and fitness than body weight measurements, especially in studies where animals may develop tumor masses or fluid accumulation that obscures true weight loss. In addition, body condition scoring is useful in chronic studies where animals may lose muscle mass and fat over time.

The following diagram of a body condition scoring method for mice is taken from: Ullman-Cullere, MH and CJ Foltz. Body condition scoring: A rapid and accurate method for assessing health status in mice. Laboratory Animal Science 1999, 49(3):319-323 (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/aalas/cm/1999/00000049/00000003/art00018). Click on the diagram to view a larger version.

 Mouse Body Condition Scoring