Managing canine obesity: No case is hopeless (Proceedings)


Managing canine obesity: No case is hopeless (Proceedings)

Apr 01, 2010


     • It is the most common nutritional disorder in dogs and cats in the United States.
          · it is estimated that 24% to 44% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight

Issues or concerns veterinarians face when trying to manage an obese patient

     • Failure of veterinarian to acknowledge obesity as a disorder in the patient's record even when noted on physical examination.
     • Uncertainty of veterinarian on how to manage obesity
     • Fear by the veterinarian of offending client if they tell a client that their pet is overweight.
     • Failure of clients to recognize when their pet is overweight
     • Failure of clients to perceive risks associated with obesity in their pet
          · it is essential that the client buys in to the need for their pet to lose weight
          · successful obesity management should be viewed as a partnership between the client and the veterinarian
          · it is important for the client to realize some of the risks associated with obesity in their pet

Obese dogs and cats have increased risk of chronic health problems

     Conditions caused or complicated by obesity include

     • decreased life expectancy
     • pulmonary and cardiovascular disease
     • exercise and heat intolerance
     • joint/musculoskeletal problems and arthritis
     • compromised immune function
     • pancreatitis
     • hyperinsulinemia, glucose intolerance, and diabetes mellitus
     • hepatic lipidosis
     • increased morbidity and mortality during and following anesthesia (many anesthetics are fat soluble, so it may take longer for recovery)
     • decreased fertility/increased dystocia

Route cause of obesity

There is an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure energy intake > energy expenditure = energy surplus

Etiologies for imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure

     1. Over-eating
     2. Lack of exercise
     3. Genetics
          a. studies have found genetic components to obesity in some people and rodents
          b. the fact that certain breeds of dogs have a disproportionately high incidence of obesity may indicate that genetics is a contributing factors in some dogs and cats
          c. breeds associated with high incidences of obesity
     4. Endocrine disorders
          a. Hypothyroidism
               i. dogs should be screened for hypothyroidism prior to initiating an obesity management program
          b. Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushings Disease)
               ii. obesity occurs in ~50% of dogs with this disease, but an enlarged, pot-bellied abdomen due to liver enlargement and muscle weakness may be erroneously perceived as obesity
     5. Gonadectomy
          a. obesity is more prevalent in spayed and neutered dogs and cats than in intact ones
               i. resting metabolic rate may decrease post spay/neuter
          b. keep in mind that just because an animal is spayed or neutered does not mean it has to become overweight
     6. Aging
          a. as an animal ages, lean body mass (muscle) decreases, resulting in a decrease in metabolic rate
          b. aging may also be accompanied by decreasing physical activity

Types of obesity

     1. Hypertrophic obesity – increase mass of body fat produced by increased fat cell size but not numbers
          a. this is generally the type of obesity that develops in adult onset obesity
     2. Hyperplastic obesity – increase mass of body fat produced by both increased fat cell size and number
          a. adipocyte hyperplasia occurs during specific critical periods of early growth and occasionally during puberty
               i. once fat cells are acquired, they are generally with the animal for life.
          b. as a result, hyperplastic obesity is generally more difficult to treat than hypertrophic obesity.