Objective - To determine the body condition score (BCS) distribution for dogs examined at a teaching hospital and examine whether the BCS distribution for dogs with cancer differed significantly from the distribution for dogs without cancer. Sample population - 1,777 dogs with cancer and 12,893 dogs without cancer. Procedures - A retrospective prevalence case-control study was conducted that used medical records from 1999 to 2004. Information was collected on BCS (9-point system), age, breed, sex, neuter status, diagnosis, and corticosteroid administration. Body condition score at the time of examination for cancer (dogs with cancer) or first chronologic visit (dogs without cancer) was recorded. Logistic regression was used to compare BCS prevalence distributions between groups. Results - The overall prevalence of obese dogs (BCS ≥ 7/9) was 14.8% (2,169/14,670), and the overall prevalence of overweight dogs (BCS ≥ 6/ 9 to < 7/9) was 21.6% (3,174/14,670). There was a significant difference in the BCS distribution between dogs with and without cancer, with a slightly lower prevalence of being overweight and obese in dogs with cancer. The prevalence of obese and overweight dogs varied with specific cancer types when compared with the prevalence for dogs without cancer. Conclusions and clinical relevance - Differences in obesity prevalence among cancer types is suggestive of an incongruous effect of this variable on cancer expression or a differential effect of specific cancer types on weight status. Systematic use of BCSs will help elucidate the association between obesity and cancer development.
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