Survey: Opportunity for Veterinarians to Include Feline Muscle Condition Score (MCS) Assessments

August 15, 2018

In a recent survey, only 14 percent of veterinarians said they perform feline muscle condition score (MCS) evaluations during physical exams. The survey was conducted with 111 veterinarians by Kindred Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: KIN), a biopharmaceutical company focused on saving and improving the lives of pets, at the 2018 Veterinary Meeting and Expo (VMX).1

In the survey, 59 percent 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, MRCVS, DACVECC, Professional Services Veterinarian with Kindred Biosciences, Inc.

“MCS evaluations are a relatively new practice but are increasingly recognized as a best practice in feline care,” Dr. 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,” Dr. 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.

Mirataz is indicated for the management of weight loss in cats.

Important Safety Information

Mirataz® (mirtazapine transdermal ointment) is for topical use in cats only under veterinary supervision. Do not use in cats with a known hypersensitivity to mirtazapine or any of the excipients. Do not use in cats treated with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Not for human use. Keep out of reach of children. Wear gloves when handling/applying, wash hands after and avoid contact between the treated cat and people or other animals for 2 hours following application. Use with caution in cats with hepatic and kidney disease. Cat’s food intake should be monitored upon discontinuation. Safety has not been evaluated in cats less than 2 kg, less than six months of age or in breeding, pregnant or lactating cats. The most common adverse reactions observed during clinical trials were application site reactions, behavioral abnormalities (vocalization and hyperactivity) and vomiting. For product label, including complete safety information, click here.


1. Nutritional Assessment Survey. Presented at: Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX). (VMX); February 3-7, 2018; Orlando, FL.

2. Freeman LM. What’s your pet’s score? Assessing muscle condition. Clinical Nutrition Service website. Updated November 16, 2017. Accessed September 18, 2019.