Thursday, August 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Fat cats and portly pups

By
From page A6 | June 16, 2013 |

For a dog or cat, obesity can be as much of a problem as it is for humans. And sadly, as is the case with their human counterparts, pet obesity is reaching epidemic proportions.

Obesity is one of the most diagnosed problems in pets. However, many owners may not be aware that their pet is overweight. For some pets, the weight is hidden under a lot of hair, and can only be assessed by feeling the body underneath. Another problem in the recognition of pet obesity is the shifting public perception as to what constitutes a “normal” look for a pet.

Regardless of how big or small a pet’s body type is, there are a few guidelines to assess whether a pet is overweight or not. The ribs should not be visible (except in some breeds, such as greyhounds), but they should be easily palpable with only a slight layer of fat. In addition, the abdomen should tuck slightly upward and inward near the hips, creating a noticeable waistline.

These parameters are used to determine an animal’s body condition score, or BCS. The BCS helps normalize the concept of whether a pet is overweight or underweight across breeds with drastically different normal weight ranges. On a nine-point scale, a BCS of five is ideal, with each deviation up or down the scale representing a 10 percent excess or deficiency (respectively) of body weight. For example, a 30-pound dog with a BCS of seven is 20 percent overweight, and should ideally weigh 24 pounds.

It is not uncommon for owners to be surprised when a veterinarian gives their pet an elevated BCS. Because so many pets are overweight, many people are biased to accept an overweight animal as normal. This is problematic, as pet obesity is difficult to treat when the pet owner does not even see that there is a problem.

Pets that are overweight are at increased risk of certain types of diseases. Many people know that arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are commonly seen in obese pets as they are in obese people. However, some less commonly known problems associated with obesity in pets include urinary tract disease, increased anesthetic risks, and hepatic lipidosis or “fatty liver” disease.

In many cases, obesity is simply a matter of a pet consuming more calories than are expended with activity. This is a relatively straightforward problem to overcome. Decreasing the food portions or switching to a weight loss diet can cut calories, and increased exercise can help burn them. Weight loss diets are available over-the-counter for many brands; additionally, prescription-only therapeutic diets that are even further calorie restricted may be recommended by a veterinarian.

However, sometimes obesity is not that straightforward. There may be underlying medical and/or behavioral problems that cause a pet to be overweight. In these cases, diet and exercise may not be enough to solve the problem.

One common example of a condition that leads to obesity is hypothyroidism in dogs. The thyroid gland helps control the overall metabolism of the body. Dogs can develop a deficiency of the thyroid gland which slows metabolism and thus induces weight gain.

For this reason, a veterinarian may recommend that laboratory testing be done on overweight animals. Any underlying disease processes can be detected and potentially treated, thus allowing weight loss to be a more attainable outcome.

Veterinarians are an ideal resource for planning a weight loss protocol for an obese pet. They can determine a pet’s ideal weight and develop a plan that includes diet, exercise, and possible laboratory testing. They can also advise on preventing too rapid a decrease in weight, which can lead to problems such as fatty liver disease.

Weight loss in an obese pet can help extend the length and quality of life. Even a few pounds can make a large difference for a pet’s health.

— Keith Rode is a veterinarian at Woodland Veterinary Hospital and a graduate of UC Davis. For more information, call 530-666-2461.

Comments

comments

Keith Rode, DVM

.

News

 
Report details the face of hunger in Yolo County

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Summer jobs aren’t always in the bag

By Spencer Ault | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis Arts Center gets a new look, thanks to Brooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

More details emerge in Woodland officer shootings

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: Taking on a Specktacular challenge

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
The big moveout, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sunder campaign will be at Farmers Market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Classic car show slated in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Students can practice safe bike routes to junior highs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
‘Monsters University’ to be screened in Central Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

California regulators approve PG&E rate hike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
America’s ‘it’ school? Look west, Harvard

By New York Times News Service | From Page: B3

School board preps for new academic year

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

 
Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
Davis Art Garage honored; bench dedication set

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Woodland historical award winners announced

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Can’t understand this change

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Delta-friendly water bond is a win for all of California

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Bravo! The road diet works

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

Support water bond in November

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Relay for Life team says thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Aggie QB is back to pass … Touchdown, Tina! Tina?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Hard hoops schedule features defending national champs at UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Crisp’s big hit helps A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie gymnasts are awesome at academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Sacramento scores early to snap skid

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

Unplayable? Cubs, rain hand Giants a loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

Food that travels well for cooking out

By Julie Cross | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

 
Crowd funding campaign offers support for Art Theater of Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Visit Crawfish and Catfish Festival in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Artists invited to paint at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Goldberg, Milstein to play at Village Homes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

The voice on the CD comes alive at Music Together concert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Railroad museum will host Aberbach memorial

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6