Update on the management of canine obesity

Ramsey, I. and German, A. (2008) Update on the management of canine obesity. UK Vet: Companion Animal, 13(8), pp. 33-37.

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This article provides an overview of the management of canine obesity, with particular reference to the recent introduction of anti-obesity drugs and their role in weight management programmes. Obesity is best defined as an accumulation of excessive amounts of adipose tissue in the body. The term obese should be reserved for those cases whose current weight is 30% above their ideal (animals are termed overweight if they are 15 to 30% above their ideal). In most animals, obesity is the result of a simple imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Numerous factors may influence the relative ease with which weight is gained, and these include genetics, age, neuter status, amount of physical activity, and the caloric content of the diet. In comparison with ‘simple’ obesity, medical causes such as hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism, are comparatively rare (typically <1% of the overweight dog population), but should be considered when other clinical signs compatible with these conditions are also present. The most recent studies in Australia, France, USA and the UK estimate the prevalence of overweight dogs at 29-37% of the pet dog population, whilst 5-15% are judged to be obese. Most investigators agree that, as in humans, the incidence of obesity in the pet population is increasing. It is likely that dogs which are obese are more likely to be at increased risk of a variety of associated diseases such as diabetes mellitus, certain cancers and arthritis as well as having a reduced overall longevity. Recently a prospective study has demonstrated that a group of Labradors fed ad libitum had a shorter median life span (11.2 years) than a paired group (13 years) each member of which was fed 75% of the amount consumed by the respective pair. Other beneficial effects in the diet restricted group included reduced risk of orthopaedic disorders such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, and improved glucose tolerance.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ramsey, Professor Ian
Authors: Ramsey, I., and German, A.
Subjects:S Agriculture > SF Animal culture > SF600 Veterinary Medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:UK Vet: Companion Animal

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