Weight Management – Fighting Obesity

Weight Management – Fighting Obesity
By Wendy Jarnet, Veterinary Nurse - Anexa FVC Thames & Coromandel

Why is it so important?
It is estimated that between a third and half of all companion animal pets in New Zealand are overweight or obese. You probably wonder why your veterinarian or veterinary nurse regularly assesses your pet’s weight and makes recommendations about ideal weight and diets.
These are just some of the consequences associated with obesity:
Stressed joints; osteoarthritis, ligament damage and spinal problems.

Heart disease; the heart develops a layer of fat which impedes the function. They can also suffer from congestive heart failure and increased blood pressure due to the heart having to work harder.

Breathing; excess fat compresses the windpipe and problems such as laryngeal paralysis and tracheal (windpipe) collapse can occur. Fat also compresses the lungs making exercise difficult and breathing harder.

Diabetes; this will often require long term treatment with insulin and dietary management. Once diabetes has developed it cannot be “cured”, even with a return to healthy weight, the pet will need to be managed with insulin for the remainder of its life.

Urinary health; more likely to suffer from urinary stones and urinary tract infections.

Liver; obesity increases the risk of developing “fatty liver” where fat builds up in the cells of the liver and impairs the function of the liver.

Increased risk of some cancers.

Heat Intolerance; fat acts as an insulator (think about the polar bear) so over warmer months pets struggle to regulate their body temperature.

Reduced lifespan; according to the Purina Lifespan Study, obesity takes almost two years off a dog’s life and up to two and half years off a cats life.

Anaesthetic and Surgical risk; Cardiac arrest (heart stops) and poor circulation of oxygenated blood to the tissues can occur with obesity. Many anaesthetics are taken up by fat, so an overweight animal will take longer to come out of anaesthesia. The increased fat in the tissues makes surgery more difficult. Basically it is harder to find or get at what you are looking for. This makes the surgery technically more difficult and the procedure will also take longer.

Digestive Disorders; increased risk of developing constipation and may have problems with intestinal gas and flatulence.

We want your pets to be happy and healthy just as much as you do. So to help keep your pets in tip top condition, speak to one of our qualified nurses or your veterinarian about weight management and weight loss programs.

Date Added: Wednesday, 1st March 2017


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