Body Condition Scoring for Mice

Description of Procedure

Scoring the body condition of rodents is a noninvasive method for assessing health and establishing endpoints for adults where body weight is not a viable monitoring tool, such as with tumor models, ascites production, and pregnancy, or for young growing animals.

Body condition scores (BCS) range from 1 (emaciation) to 5 (obesity). An anticipated BCS of 2—underconditioned—or lower requires justification in the protocol.

Scores are determined by frequent visual and hands-on examination of each animal. The hands-on evaluation is done by gently holding the mouse by the base of the tail and passing a finger over the sacroiliac bones. The findings are matched to the descriptions and diagrams below to determine a score.

Body Condition Scoring


1. Ullman-Cullere, M.H. and Foltz, C.J. Body Condition Scoring: A Rapid and Accurate Method for Assessing Health Status in Mice. Lab. Animal Science; 49 (3) 319–323, 1999.
2. IACUC Guidelines, University of California at San Francisco.

BU IACUC Approved October 2008, Reviewed January 2014