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J Vet Intern Med. 2010 Nov-Dec;24(6):1369-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2010.0584.x. Epub 2010 Aug 24.

The relationship between body weight, body condition, and survival in cats with heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.



Obese people with heart failure have improved survival compared with their normal or underweight counterparts. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between body weight or body condition and survival in cats with heart failure.


Body weight and body condition score (BCS) are predictors of survival in cats with heart failure.


One-hundred and one cats with heart failure (International Small Animal Cardiac Health Council Classes II, IIIa, or IIIb) evaluated between March 2007 and June 2009.


Data regarding initial body weight and BCS, subsequent changes in body weight, and treatment were collected from records and compared with survival times.


Median initial body weight was 5.1 kg (range, 2.2-9.5 kg). Median BCS was 5 (range, 3-9). Of the 68 cats that were discharged from the hospital, median body weight change was 0.0 kg (range, -2.6 to +2.3 kg). Survival time for all 101 cats was 93 days (0-811 days). Survival could be predicted using a model combining initial body weight (P=.02), body weight squared (P=.02), and survival to discharge (P<.001) with a resulting global P value for this model of P<.0001.


Cats with the lowest and highest body weights had reduced survival times compared with those with body weights in the intermediate ranges, suggesting a U-shaped relationship between body weight and survival. Additional research into the effects of body composition could help to determine optimal management of cats with heart failure.

Copyright © 2010 by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

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