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Pet Obesity

Balboa's Story and Pet Obesity

"Balboa" was well named, he was a magnificent cat, a handsome four-year-old neutered male, Chocolate-Point Rag Doll. He had always been a big fellow, however, over this last year he had gained far too much weight, and he was now sadly showing signs of clinical obesity. He had become very lazy, wanting to sleep more, and he was not really interested in playing now, which was a shame as he had always been a very playful, fit kitten. His obesity was obviously causing him some health problems now and had already had a couple of visits to the practice with urinary tract problems, something that had not been noted previously. 

Pet Obesity is on the rise generally and has been noted as a big problem during the past year with all the Covid-19 restrictions. Obesity sadly brings with it some increased risks of ill health and poor quality of life for our overweight, companion animals. It is fast becoming one of the most serious health problems affecting our pets, with currently one in three cats, and one in four dogs considered now to be overweight, and the problem of pet obesity can only get worse. 

We can all make a big difference to our beloved pets if their weight is carefully and regularly monitored, and their daily diet controlled correctly lifelong. 

Cats: Obesity in cats can be extremely detrimental to their health and can result in serious health conditions, including: Diabetes; Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease; Joint Disease; Fatty Liver Disease – Hepatic Lipidosis; Exercise intolerance; Respiratory disease 

Any overweight cats are twice as likely to develop Diabetes, and they are eight times more likely if they are considered clinically Obese.  Cats are carnivores, in the wild, they would have had to work and hunt to catch their own prey, and rarely would you have ever seen an overweight feline in the wild. Now we provide them with such easy lives with all meals provided, that a lean, toned cat is fast becoming the minority.  

It is estimated that around over 53% of cats are now overweight or obese in the UK. 

Dogs: Obesity in dogs can result in a whole range of health problems including: Joint disease; Diabetes; Heart disease; Liver Disease; Respiratory Disease; Tumours 

Being Obese can sadly shorten your dog’s lifespan by as much as two years! 

So, if you want to have your feline or canine best friend around for as long as possible, now is the time to do something positive about working at getting them back into shape. 

Your Vet practice can still advise and support owners on their journey towards achieving a slimmer and healthier pet during these difficult times. They can provide professional advice on their diet and on working out healthy, weight loss plans, as we all appreciate dieting is never an easy task. Your pet’s diet and daily energy requirements can be carefully worked out, dependent on their age, stage, and lifestyle. An initial dietary weight loss plan for your individual pet can then be set up and worked on. To make life simpler there are also excellent “Weight Loss,” complete diets available. These are professionally researched, satisfying, complete nutrition diets, which are carefully formulated to provide all the necessary daily nutrients required, but with a lower calorie content. You can get advice on how much to feed of these diets, and on what foods to stop and avoid! Once a diet is advised on for your pet, then amounts will be given to feed in grammes per day, to try to work towards achieving an ideal "target weight" for your pet. Do carefully weigh your pet's food out each day, on an accurate electronic gram kitchen scales, and, if possible, weigh your pet regularly and keep a record of this weight. After a month, their daily food amounts will be advised on and adjusted if required, depending on that recorded weight.  

If you are strict, and you do comply with the advised feeding guidelines given for these diets, then gradually you should begin to see some positive results in your trimmer pet. Which in turn will be a big positive for your happier, healthier pet looking forward. 

 

Alison Laurie-Chalmers 

Senior Consultant 

Crown Vets 

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