Sunday, March 10, 2013



"Don't let yesterday use up too much of today." 
Native American Proverb

Helpful Buckeye has discussed obesity in dogs and cats in several previous issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats.  Now, we want to take that discussion a bit further and look at some chronic diseases that are actually made worse by a pet being obese. 

Chronic Disease Grows with Dogs' and Cats'
Overweight cats are more likely to have other cat diseases, according to a new poll on dog and cat health.
Chronic disease is on the rise in cats and dogs, but owners are hesitant to visit the veterinarian to treat existing conditions, according to the State of Pet Health 2012 Report, published today by Banfield Pet Hospital.
From 2007 to 2011, the overweight or obese dog incidences increased 37% and overweight or obese cat incidences increased 90% in cats. Overall, 1 in 5 dogs and cats were classified as obese or overweight in 2011.
Obesity or overweight was diagnosed in dogs and cats diagnosed with other chronic diseases, including:
     40% of dogs and 37% of cats with arthritis,
     40% of dogs and 40% of cats with diabetes,
     40% of dogs with high blood pressure,
     60% of dogs with hypothyroidism.
Dog and cat arthritis and chronic kidney disease are also on the rise. The rate of arthritis diagnoses in cats and dogs rose 28% and 67%, respectively, from 2007 to 2011. At the same time, chronic kidney disease increased 15% in cats, which are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than are dogs. Most cats diagnosed in the early stages of chronic kidney disease live about two to three years, whereas most cats diagnosed in later stages live less than six months after diagnosis, according to Banfield.
Meanwhile, 36% of dog owners and 28% of cat owners said they would take their dog or cat to see a veterinarian to manage an existing condition, according to a survey of 2,000 pet owners conducted by Banfield and market research firm Kelton.
“The key to successful early disease diagnosis involves a partnership between pet owners and their veterinarian to identify changes in a pet’s overall health and behavior,” said Jeffrey Kausner, DVM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield. “In partnership with pet owners, we hope to reduce the number of pets living with undiagnosed or unmanaged chronic diseases.”
Obese dogs at risk of same health condition
experienced by humans
The study found one in five obese dogs have metabolic syndrome
Veterinary scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that, like humans, obese dogs can experience metabolic syndrome, a condition that describes multiple health issues that occur in the body at the same time.
The condition occurs when a number of health problems, such as increased blood glucose and increased cholesterol levels, develop together, with the potential to increase the risk of other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Common in obese humans
Although canine obesity is known to cause insulin resistance, mild hypertension, and high blood cholesterol levels, it has not, until now, been investigated for links to metabolic syndrome, which is common in obese humans.
In a study involving 35 obese dogs, 20% were found to have metabolic syndrome.  Similar to humans with the condition, obese dogs had increased blood insulin, suggested that the pancreas is working harder than normal to control blood glucose.  Blood adiponectin, a protein produced by fat cells that helps control sugars and fats, was also at lower levels than normal. It is yet to be determined, however, what the exact health impacts of these issues are on dogs, and if they are similar to the diseases that metabolic syndrome can cause in humans.
The team demonstrated, however, that the metabolic abnormalities identified in obese dogs, improved when they successfully lost weight.
Health consequences for dogs
Dr Alex German, from the University’s Department of Obesity and Endocrinology, said: “It is estimated that one third to a half of the UK dog population is overweight.  A previous study that we conducted showed that a dog’s quality of life improved with weight loss, resulting in better vitality and reduced emotional distress.
“This new research creates a lot of new questions for us.  It suggests that dogs develop metabolic syndrome, similar to humans with obesity-related health problems.  We now need to investigate, however, what health consequences this may have for dogs.   The key point for us is that the problem can be resolved with successful weight loss, and this must be a priority for pet owners with obese dogs.”
Newest Banfield study reveals chronic diseases
 are on the rise
A new study by Portland-based Banfield Pet Hospital reveals that chronic diseases such as obesity, arthritis, kidney disease, thyroid disease and heart disease in cats and dogs have risen dramatically in the past five years.
The second-annual “State of Pet Health” report, compiled by Banfield’s internal research team, analyzed medical data from 2 million dogs and nearly 430,000 cats treats at Banfield’s 800 hospitals nationwide last year. The company says the study is the largest industry report of its kind.
Some of the report’s highlights include:
•Overweight and obesity increased by 37 percent in dogs and 90 percent in cats over the past five years. That comes down to about one in five cats and dogs.
•Yet, 76 percent of dog owners and 69 percent of cat owners don’t think their pet has a weight problem. What’s more, the report found that pet owners are unaware their pet may be sick.
•Only 36 percent of dog owners and 28 percent of cat owners said they would take their pet to see a veterinarian to address an illness or condition.
“The key to successful early disease diagnosis involves a partnership between pet owners and their veterinarian to identify changes in a pet’s overall health and behavior,” said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield Pet Hospital.
The report suggests owners should be concerned, since obesity correlates to arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and other chronic conditions that can decrease a pet’s quality of life.
Another point the report revealed is that cat owners appear to be less likely to seek medical care for their felines: Banfield treated 1.5 million more dogs than cats in 2011, despite the fact that there are more cats than dogs in the U.S.
Kidney disease went up by 15 percent among cats since 2007 and it’s much more likely to occur in cats than dogs (1 in every 12 senior cats were diagnosed with kidney disease last year).
It can also be deadly: Most cats diagnosed early with kidney disease live only one to two years but often live less than six months if it’s caught in later stages.
If you didn't think your obese pet had much to worry about before you read all this information, perhaps now you'll understand some of the far-reaching ramifications that are associated with obesity.  This would probably be a good time for a short review of obesity and how best to fight the battle against this serious problem.
Canine Obesity: Help Your Dog Lose Weight
By Dr. Donna Spector for Vetstreet
U.S. dogs are fatter than ever. In fact, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimates that 53 percent of U.S. dogs are overweight or obese. Obese dogs are more likely to suffer from debilitating medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, compromised immune function and even the development of some cancers. Obesity can be life-threatening and is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in dogs. It has been documented that dogs maintaining an ideal body weight live 15 percent longer, and with less disease, than overweight dogs.
How To Know If Your Dog Is Obese
It can be difficult for an owner to believe that an 80-pound dog is 20 pounds overweight. A recent study conducted by APOP reveals as a nation we are so accustomed to seeing fat dogs that we don’t seem to recognize it anymore. If you’re not sure, pat your hands along your dog’s sides from head to tail. In a healthy-weight dog, you should be able to just feel the ribs. Also, take a look at your dog from the side. Most dogs should have a slightly “tucked up” profile. If all you feel are fat pads on your dog’s sides, or if his side profile is more sausage-like than sleek, chances are your friend may need to shed a few.
The first thing you should do is get your vet involved. Take your dog for a checkup as there are underlying conditions that can contribute to obesity, including diabetes, Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism. Have your veterinarian determine your dog’s current and ideal body weight and then tell you how many calories your dog can eat each day in order to reach that ideal weight. Your goal should be to work toward that ideal weight over a several-month period.
How To Feed For Good Health
Dogs should not be fed “free choice” as they tend to eat when bored instead of when hungry -- which contributes to ever-expanding canine waistlines. Dogs should be fed two to four times each day, and all food portions should be measured exactly with a standard measuring cup.
Dog food label recommendations must be used cautiously. These guidelines are generic and most likely represent overfeeding for many U.S. dogs. Dogs must be fed according to their ideal body weight -- not their current weight if they are obese. If your dog is even mildly overweight, feeding according to the recommendations found on the food bag will result in continued weight gains.
What To Feed?
Most regular dog foods are quite high in calories -- usually between 450 and 550 calories per cup or can -- making it very easy to unknowingly overfeed a dog and fail at weight-loss attempts. You must find out how many calories are in a cup or can of your dog’s food and feed it according to the number of calories he requires.
There is not one best diet for weight loss in dogs, and your vet can help determine what might work best for your dog. While weight loss can often be achieved by feeding less of a dog's regular food, some dogs feel more satisfied on higher-fiber or higher-protein foods.
Weight loss is often easier to achieve by adding canned food to your dog’s feeding regimen. In general, it has higher protein, lower carbohydrates and similar or fewer calories when compared to a similar-sized quantity of the same dry food.
How To Give Treats
Dogs should be given no more than 10 percent of their daily calories as treats. Treats are a huge source of “hidden” calories, and dogs are often grossly overfed because treat calories are not accounted for. If the calories per treat are not printed on the treat package, call the company and ask for this information.
This is an alarming treat statistic: The average premium pig ear has 230 calories and when given to a 40-pound dog is the same calorie punch as an average adult eating two double cheeseburgers as a treat in addition to their normal meals.
The best and most healthful treat choices are fresh fruits or vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, green beans or apples.
Get Exercise Right
Not only does an obese dog need to eat less, he needs to exercise more. Get your dog moving -- take a walk or run, play fetch, go swimming, go up and down the stairs! Provide at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise every day to facilitate weight loss.
Monitoring Weight Loss
Weigh your dog every one to two weeks to monitor his weight-loss progress. Overweight or obese dogs should lose one to two percent of their body weight each week. If your dog is not losing weight, his daily calories may need to be restricted further.
Eating right and being physically active aren’t just a “diet” for your dog -- they are keys to a healthy lifestyle and will reduce your dog’s risk of chronic disease and increase his chance for a longer life.
Any questions or comments should be sent to Helpful Buckeye at: or submitted in the Coimment section following the end of this issue.
~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

1 comment:

  1. Doc:
    We keep a very close eye on the weight of Rory, Fiona and Argyle. It's something we started early so that we'll have them as long as we can and they can stay healthy. I sent you an email awhile back to the addy I had for you re: a question on hot spots. Did you get that?