Kenosha Animal Hospital

6223 39th Avenue
Kenosha, WI 53142


Pet Obesity - Part 1

Today, we are exposed to the problem of human obesity on a daily basis. It is almost impossible to turn on the television, radio or open a newspaper or magazine without being inundated with some new weight loss supplement or diet plan. There is a good reason for this, since obesity has now become the leading public health crisis in the United States and is currently growing at an alarming rate.

Our pets are also suffering the same consequences of our own poor nutritional habits. The reasons for these are unlimited, but just as the media is supported through billions of dollars of advertising for healthy lifestyles and proper weight management, it also feeds on the snack and fast food industry's investment to get us to purchase more and more of that which is causing the problem; and as our pets have been given the "family member" status, this same type of advertising is now becoming rampant with the pet food and treat industry, pushing us to purchase highly palatable, fat laden treats for our special friends. In fact, nearly half of our pets are now classified as overweight or obese by leading veterinary healthcare providers, although most pet owners don't recognize it. This is a very serious problem that must be addressed if we hope to maintain our pets' health and enjoy their companionship well into their senior years. It has been noted with scientific studies that if you keep your pets thin, they'll live 15 percent longer; that averages to two years with the larger dog breeds and much longer with small dog breeds and cats. In addition, studies have proven what we already know, that normal weight pets suffer fewer health issues. By keeping our pets' weight controlled, many serious medical conditions such as diabetes; heart disease; hypertension; orthopedic problems including hip dysplasia, torn ligaments and related osteoarthritis; liver and kidney disease; and even cancer can be prevented. So simply stated, the worst condition caused by obesity is a greatly reduced life-span and unnecessary suffering.

To bring some important attention to this problem, I will be writing a multipart series. Some of the topics will include: causes of obesity, health risks associated with it, how to tell if your pet is obese, steps to get them back into shape, and information on an exciting new drug, Slentrol, that is the first safe and effective weight-loss medication made specifically for obese dogs.

Unfortunately, because of the unique nature of the cat's internal chemistry, this medication cannot be given to them. There is, however, ongoing research in search of a similar weight control medication for them and we hope that one will be available in the near future.