Survey reveals good opportunity for veterinarians to include feline MCS assessments

In a recent survey, only 14% of veterinarians said they perform feline muscle condition score (MCS) evaluations during physical exams. The survey was conducted with 111 veterinarians by Kindred Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company, at the 2018 Veterinary Meeting and Expo (VMX).1

In the survey, 59% of veterinarians said they captured body condition scores (BCS) during physical exams. BCS and MCS evaluations are a key part of a complete nutritional assessment for cats, says Christina Fernandez, DVM, DACVECC, MRCVS, senior manager, Veterinary Affairs, KindredBio.

“MCS evaluations are a relatively new practice but are increasingly recognized as a best practice in feline care,” Fernandez says. “BCS has been a standard practice for many practitioners, and there are multiple validated scoring systems. Most veterinarians perform a BCS during regular visits, but BCS only evaluates the animal’s body fat. MCS evaluations are easy to incorporate into the physical exam and provide extremely valuable information for trending patient body composition status over time. It helps veterinarians watch for any muscle loss over time to ensure our feline patients maintain a healthy body composition—and maybe even offer early warning signs of disease.”

Muscle loss can be a result of age, illness, and/or injury. No matter what the cause, muscle loss can make an animal weaker, depress immune function, and reduce the ability to recover from illness, surgery, or injury.2

The MCS is determined by feeling the cat’s muscles over its back, head, shoulders and hips. Muscle loss contributes to weight loss and can occur in the absence of fat loss. Even an overweight animal can still have declining muscle condition.2

“Including an MCS evaluation takes less than a minute to perform,” Fernandez notes. “It’s easy to make it a part of the routine during a regular physical exam, takes no additional equipment, and can be trending over time by recording it in the medical record along with the BCS. It’s a best practice that also provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the importance of overall body weight, body fat, and muscle condition with cat owners.” 

For more information, download the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s nutrition toolkit. (PDF)

Watch this video to learn how to perform a muscle condition score. (MCS) evaluation.



1. Nutritional Assessment Survey. Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX). Feb. 3-7, 2018, Orlando, Florida. Data on file at KindredBio.

2. Freeman LM. What’s Your Pet’s Score? Assessing Muscle Condition. Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University. Nov. 16, 2017. Accessed April 11, 2019. Available at: