How easily can you feel your pet's backbone?
If those bones (they’re called the vertebral bodies and processes) are very prominent and easy to feel, then your pet may have decreased muscle mass and one of a host of the underlying conditions that can lead to such muscle loss.
To assess your pet's body condition use these charts:
Body condition chart for dogs
Some of the conditions and problems that can result in decreased muscle mass in cats and dogs include:
- Heart disease
- Intestinal parasites
- Chronic stomach and/or intestinal inflammation
- Certain cancers
- Hyperthyroidism (more common in cats than dogs)
- Kidney disease
See, feeling your pet’s backbone wasn’t such a strange suggestion after all. Was it?
Oh, and PS — if those vertebral bodies and processes are really difficult to feel, then your pet likely has the opposite problem… obesity (which should be taken care of right away, and prompt a visit to your vet).