Can your practice help?

You are probably visiting this page because your client has volunteered their dog for the GOdogs research project into the genetics of canine obesity and has asked that you perform a body condition score.  This page introduces the research and explains what we would like you to do to help us.

The GOdogs Project

We know dogs’ genes can influence their tendency to become overweight.  We are studying a number of breeds to find out which genes are important and why.  The results will benefit dogs and humans too, by teaching us about the biology of body weight control.

What we want from you

The success of GOdogs is based on quality information about dogs’ weight and obesity levels.  Owners struggle to perform objective body condition scoring so we ask their local practices to do it on our behalf.    We also hope you will weigh the dogs and provide a copy of the dogs’ medical records.

Briefly, participating practices are asked to:

  • condition score and weigh the dogs
  • provide a copy of the medical records (optional, if owners agree)

It’s really that easy!  We provide the condition score charts and instructions on how to use them and the owner can return completed forms to us.  Either vet nurses or vets can do the scoring and it only takes a few minutes.

A brief note on condition scoring: 

Pugs and bulldog breeds are sometimes tricky to classify according to the standard chart.  Specifically:

  • Skin wrinkles around the neck can hide fat deposits or seem like fat when they are not. Palpate carefully to work out how much subcutaneous fat there is.
  • These breeds tend to lay down fat at the front of the ribcage. Palpate there to test whether you can feel the ribs.
  • French and English bulldogs have barrel chests that accentuate their waists; they can be slow to ‘lose’ their waist when overweight. You may find a dog’s waist would give one score and their fat deposits a higher score.  If so, the fat deposits are usually the most accurate.

To help, we include a set of condition score drawings tailored for pugs.  Please start with the main (Purina) chart and read the descriptive sentences carefully.  Use the pug chart as an additional aid if helpful.

If you want to contact us:  We are happy to provide more information; it’s easiest to contact us via email.  Other contact details are here.

Thank you!  We know veterinary practices are busy places and are very grateful for your help which we hope will be easy, rewarding and valuable to your clients.  We have asked owners to check before taking their dogs to you to be scored so they arrive at a convenient time and don’t get charged.  We hope that system works and you haven’t been inconvenienced but please let us know if it has been a problem.

We are hugely grateful to the many practices which have helped already.