• Body condition score;
  • Cachexia;
  • Obesity


Obesity in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with longer survival. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between body condition score (BCS) and survival in dogs with CKD.


Higher BCS is a predictor of prolonged survival in dogs with CKD.


One hundred dogs were diagnosed with CKD (International Renal Interest Society stages II, III or IV) between 2008 and 2009.


Retrospective case review. Data regarding initial body weight and BCS, clinicopathologic values and treatments were collected from medical records and compared with survival times.


For dogs with BCS recorded (n = 72), 13 were underweight (BCS = 1–3; 18%), 49 were moderate (BCS = 4–6; 68%), and 10 were overweight (BCS = 7–9; 14%). For dogs with at least 2 body weights recorded (n = 77), 21 gained weight, 47 lost weight, and 9 had no change in weight. Dogs classified as underweight at the time of diagnosis (median survival = 25 days) had a significantly shorter survival time compared to that in both moderate (median survival = 190 days; < .001) and overweight dogs (median survival = 365 days; P < .001). There was no significant difference in survival between moderate and overweight dogs (P = .95).

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

Higher BCS at the time of diagnosis was significantly associated with improved survival. Further research on the effects of body composition could enhance the management of dogs with CKD.