Obesity continues to be a topic of discussion in the veterinary medical profession. Overweight animals have a higher chance of developing type two diabetes, osteoarthritis, metabolic syndromes and other serious illnesses. The first step in assessing your animal’s obesity is to determine the body condition score (BCS) of your pet. With dogs, cats, and horses the scale is from 1 to 9, 1 being too thin and 9 being extremely obese and 5 to 6 1/2 being ideal. A quick assessment is: 1) can you feel your pet's ribs? 2) does your pet have a waist? If you said no to these questions it's likely that your pet is overweight.
If you've tried decreasing your overweight pet's total diet by 25 percent, eliminating treats and increasing exercise and have had no success, perhaps the weight gain is associated to a medical condition. There are a handful of conditions that can cause weight gain in veterinary patients. For example, hypothyroidism in canines causes weight gain by decreasing metabolic rate which creates a sluggish pet. In horses, Equine Metabolic Syndrome creates insulin resistance and increased fat deposits. It's important to rule out these potential causes before going to drastic changes in your pets nutrition and exercise regimens. Schedule a spring wellness exam to discuss your pet's risks to these and other diseases. As your veterinarian, we can perform the proper diagnostic tests to determine whether your pet is suffering from a disease or simply indulging too much.
If a disease is causing your pet’s weight gain, as your veterinarian we can guide you and your pet to the ideal treatment. If it overfeedng, we can sit down and calculate your pets "resting energy requirement" (RER) to determine the exact amount of food needing to be fed to start the weight loss. All that's required from you is to know the brand of pet food being fed and the associated calories per cup. With one appointment we can get your overweight pet headed in the right direction. You are always welcome to stop by the clinic to weigh your small animals on our scale to measure the progress.