Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Weight loss: overview

Contributor(s): Marge Chandler, Andrew Gardiner

Introduction

  • Weight loss occurs when calorie expenditure exceeds intake for a duration that exceeds the capacity of the body's normal compensating mechanisms.
  • Clinically significant weight loss exists when there is a reduction in body weight of 8-10% not explained by obvious historical factors, eg dehydration.
  • Assess the optimum weight of a dog by reference to published breed averages for pure breeds. Assess cross-breeds in relation to pure breeds of similar size and stature.
  • Body condition scoring Body condition scores is an accurate method of assessing animals in the clinical situation. It takes account of individual variations in stature within breed groups.
  • Ideally, the same person should carry out sequential condition score assessments.
  • Accurate, properly calibrated scales are essential for monitoring suspected weight loss. Measure once/twice a week on the same scales.
  • Weight charts, histograms or graphs are useful for monitoring chronic cases.
    Many clinical data entry programs have this facility.
Follow the diagnostic trees for Weight loss and  Managing anorexia.

Causes of weight loss

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Nature of pathological weight loss: lean body mass

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Pathophysiology of weight loss

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General approach

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Summary - causes of weight loss

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Further Reading

Publications

Referred papers

Other sources of information

  • Dunn J (1999) Ed Textbook of Small Animal Medicine. Saunders.
  • Nelson R W & Couto C G (1998) Eds Small Animal Internal Medicine. 2nd edn. Mosby.


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