The Only Locally-Owned Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Minnesota

Obesity in pets

Posted April 9, 2012 @ 1:49pm | by Dr. Steven Shadwick, Residency-Trained in Internal Medicine

Obesity in domesticated animals is becoming more and more of a problem every year.  Following the current trend in human medicine, we are beginning to see an obesity epidemic develop in our pet dogs and cats.  Recent studies suggest that as many as 25-45% of our pets are considered overweight and 5-15% are considered obese.

There are many ways to define obesity: subjectively, objectively, and a combination of the two.  Although we can get very scientific and perform extremely accurate tests to determine the exact amount of fat carried by a pet, a simple physical exam is often more than sufficient to detect a problem.  Animals who have accumulated enough fat to have a negative impact on their health are relatively easy to recognize.

In people, there are numerous studies linking obesity to various other health problems.  In pets the studies are not as plentiful, but the associations we do have paint a similar picture.  Kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disorders, orthopedic disease, osteoarthritis, and cancer are all associated with obesity.  Prevention and treatment of obesity offers owners the ability to experience longer, happier lives with their pets.  Studies suggest that leaner pets will also experience fewer and less costly vet bills.

Here at the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota we are providing nutrition consults for patients with chronic weight control issues.  A consultation with Dr. Steven Shadwick from our Internal Medicine Service will provide you with multiple options to help your pet lose weight safely.  Calorie control, exercise, and even medications can be used in a customized plan for your cat or dog.

Dr. Shadwick is currently supervising a weight loss plan for one of our own blood donor cats.  Spencer is doing extremely well on his new diet and is safely and predictably losing weight each week.  You can follow Spencer’s progress on the AERC Facebook page!

Contact our Internal Medicine Service today to schedule and appointment with Dr. Shadwick for a nutrition consultation for your overweight or obese pet.

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