Obesity can have major impacts on a pet's health and life. While we can make jokes about "Oh lawd he comin," a fat cat or dog can have pain and a shorter life.
Why is obesity bad for pets?
Similar to humans, it can lead to a variety of expensive, long-term related conditions, like arthritis and diabetes.
Humans carry extra weight in our bellies, but cats and dogs carry extra weight around their chests. This creates a tight jacket, constricting the lungs and making it harder to breathe. For brachycephalic dogs, this can be a double-whammy.
Surgery and anesthesia are also riskier for a variety of reasons. Dosing anesthetic drugs is harder the more the pet's weight deviates from the norm. The pet's lungs are under two stressors: drugs and the restrictive fat.
Finally, obesity can shorten lifespan. A study in Labrador retrievers found that dogs that were not fat lived about 2.5 years longer than overweight ones.
A special risk for cats
Overweight cats have a special risk case: hepatic lipidosis. If a fat cat stops eating due to illness or stress, body fat is used for calories. That sounds good, but the feline body can't process a large amount of body fat. This fat then goes to the liver and may fail. Minor issues, like a cold, can turn into major illnesses.
Is my pet fat?
We see so many fat pets that we have a poor idea of what a healthy weight in a pet looks like. There is help!
The Body Condition Score (BCS) helps you evaluate your pet based on what you can see and feel.
What Can I Do About It?
Often, just cutting back on food doesn't work. We've all heard an insistent cat meow or gotten the puppy dog eyes when we don't give scraps or treats. Besides the guilt, just reducing food can lead to a loss in minerals or vitamins.
Omega 3/6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids not produced by the animal itself. This helps relieve pain due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Chondroitin & Glucosamine are key nutrients that makeup cartilage. They can assist in the natural repair and regeneration of your dog’s cartilage.
Paw Osteosupport capsules contain green lipped mussel as well as omega 3/6.
4Cyte is an oral powder containing a plant extract ‘Epitalis’ that is able to stimulate healthy cartilage regeneration and reduce inflammation.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammartory Drugs (NSAIDs)
There are several safe, very effective NSAIDs formulated for veterinary patients commonly used to reduce inflammation and therefore pain.
Routine blood and urine testing to monitor organ function (liver and kidneys) are recommended for careful long-term usage and before commencing treatment.
Arthritis Shots For Dogs
Chondroprotective agents work to stimulate cartilage repair and inhibit ongoing damage. This is a course of injections
commencing once weekly for 4 weeks, with booster injections every 3 months.
Long acting corticosteroids (cortisone) can be injected into the lower lumbar spine to relieve chronic nerve pain due to sciatica
(lumbosacral disease). This option can be very effective for this common, debilitating nerve pain.
It involves giving three injections under short general anesthetics within a six week period. Repeats can be performed in future if and when clinical signs indicate the pain has returned - this can be anywhere from 6 months up to 18 months from the course in our experience, and will depend on the severity of the lumbosacral disease at the time of treatment. Lumbosacral disease is an ongoing, progressive problem that will continue throughout life.
Stem Cell Therapy
This is a relatively new area of treatment for veterinary patients and there are several different systems available. Research indicates effects are due to local down regulation of joint inflammation and promotion of tissue healing. We are happy to offer a referral.