Obesity is a medical condition which arises due to the accumulation of excess body fat, to the extent of having a negative impact on health. It is one of the biggest problems currently facing human medicine and unfortunately it is now also a huge concern for our pets – dogs, cats and rabbits alike.
Generally speaking, obesity is a simple problem – too many calories in and not enough exercise – but in reality it is a complex and difficult condition to overcome.
Problems seen as a result of obesity in our practice:
- Reduced ability to move and exercise, which should be an important source of fun and enrichment for our pets!
- Breathing difficulties, particularly in short nosed breeds eg Pugs, Bulldogs, Persian cats.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Heart disease.
- Reduced ability to groom – leading to matted uncomfortable coats in cats, or dirty bottoms in rabbits which can lead to Flystrike.
A lot of these factors are interlinked which complicates the picture further. For example, some breeds are more ’prone’ to obesity; Labradors due to their greedy nature, and Pugs due to their inability to exercise well with their pre-existing airway restrictions. There are also some medical conditions which can lead to weight gain (eg hypothyroidism in dogs), so it is advisable to get advice from your vet to rule out any medical conditions, and to highlight and treat any secondary problems that may have been caused.
Body condition scoring
It is important to know what a healthy body shape looks like, as we are getting all too used to seeing overweight as ‘normal’. Vets use a system called ‘Body Condition Scoring’ rather than going purely on weight, as there is so much variation in our pets body shapes and sizes.
You can check your cat or dogs body condition score and more information on the Royal Canin website.
The good news about obesity is that it is entirely preventable. As the owner, the control needs to be in YOUR hands, as a lack of exercise and overfeeding treats are unintentional but key factors.
We have recently launched weight clinics at Archway. These are FREE appointments with a veterinary nurse for clients who have concerns about their pets’ weight. Our team will give you tailor-made dietary advice and tips on how to help your pet loose weight at home, with regular weigh-ins to monitor progress and hopefully keep motivation up!
Please contact us on 01730 262101 if you would like to make an appointment.