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S.H.A.P.E. Body Condition Guides


S.H.A.P.E. (Size, Health and Physical Evaluation) is a new flow-diagram based system, which uses similar visual and palpable characteristics as existing scoring systems.

It is a simple reliable tool that can be used by any owner to assess the body condition of their dog and cat.

To use the guides select which chart you require (dog or cat) then follow the questions whilst examining your pet. Once you have completed the chart and followed the questions you will finish with a S.H.A.P.E. score. This will be a letter between A-G.


Q What is meant by “without applying pressure”?

A Only use your finger tips to lightly bush along the skin surface.  This should be used when assessing the ribs, spine, shoulder blades and hip bones.


Q What is meant by applying “light pressure”?

A Using your fingertips brush along the skin surface pressing sufficiently to indent the skin without applying force.


Q What happens if I can feel the hip bones but not the shoulder blades?

A To answer yes you must be able to feel both the hip bones and the shoulder blades.


Q Is there a “layer of fat covering the ribs”?

A If you find it difficult to feel the ribs when applying light pressure (see above) this suggests there is a fat covering between the skin and ribs.


Q Can you feel the “indentation of the waist”?

A Place your hands either side of the waist to feel for an indentation.



Q What is meant by “against the direction of the coat”?

A Move your hands in the direction of the arrow shown on the picture ‘against the direction of the coat’.



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