Body Condition Scoring for Mice

BU IACUC Approved October 2008, Reviewed January 2014, Reviewed June 2019

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 Scores

Body Condition 1: Mouse is emaciated

Body Condition 2: Mouse is underconditioned

Body Condition 3: Mouse is well-conditioned

Body Condition 4: Mouse is overconditioned

Body Condition 5: Mouse is obese

A “+” or “-” can be added to the body condition score if additional increments are necessary (i.e. …. 2+, 2, 2-, …).


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