Rosie is a 5 year old orange tabby who has been visiting us since she was adopted from the SPCA by her owner. Last year, at her annual health and wellness examination, we recognized that Rosie was overweight and together with her owner a weight loss program was created.
When Rosie initially came in, her weight was 13.4lbs. Her owner was concered the additional weight would cause problems for her and she was right. Here are just a few of the reasons obesity is problematic.
Arthritis: Extra weight puts extra pressure and unneeded stress on joints. This can lead to decreased mobility which can compound the problem of obesity. Often weight management alone can be extremely beneficial in arthritic pets.
Respiratory issues: In an obese pet, respiration can be more difficult. The muscles of the chest have to work much harder against a layer of fat. Additionally, in animals known to have weaker tracheas, this adds additional pressure to an already weakened trachea.
Diabetes Mellitus: In our pets, and cats especially, obesity can lead to an increase in insulin resistance. It is not uncommon for us to diagnose diabetes in obese patients.
Increased Surgical Risk: Obesity can lead to an increase in multiple risk factors when considering anesthetic. When considering breathing, anesthetic is a known respiratory depressant; due to the extra layer of fat, respiration under anesthetic is much more difficult in obese animals. Additionally, fat inside the abdomen can create difficulty visualizing structures that would normally be easily accessed.
So how do we deal with the extra weight?
Diet: When starting a diet plan, it is important to limit the amount of calories going in. A set amount of daily calories should be measured each day. If other animals are in the house, it’s important to make sure that there is no cheating between animals. Treats should also be calculated into the daily caloric intake. Anderson Veterinary Clinic offers a variety of prescription diets specifically designed for weight loss. For Rosie, she was started on Hill’s Metabolic formula. This diet is designed to work on each animal’s unique metabolism to support healthy weight loss (and maitenance afterwards!)
Exercise: Exercise is a great way to shed the pounds. In dogs that have more difficulty walking, low impact exercises (such as swimming) are a great alternative. Cats can be difficult to exercise – increasing time playing with toys is a ‘sneaky’ way to get in exercise.
A great way to track your pet’s history is frequent weigh ins and pictures. We encourage you to stop by the clinic so we can weigh your pet.
If you feel your pet is overweight or you have questions regarding a weight loss program, please do not hesitate to call.
Through a lot of hard work by her owner, Rosie is now 2.5lbs lighter and has an ideal body condition!