In Canada's Pet Wellness Report (published in 2011), Canadian veterinarians identified weight control/management as the number one thing a pet owner can do to increase the length of their pet’s life.
Diagnosis of health disorders is more difficult in obese pets, because it is more difficult to auscultate (listen with stethoscope) efficiently, or palpate (feel the abdomen or other structures), or to get proper samples (for example, venipuncture, or vein access may be more difficult).
Obese pets are at a greater risk during anaesthesia and surgery since they have reduced lung function, sometimes decreased liver and kidney function, greater risk of wound infection and require more anaesthetic than healthy weight pets. The surgeon may also be challenged due to excessive body cavity fat stores, as internal structures may be embedded deeply in these fatty accumulations.
High blood pressure (hypertension) may develop; increases the risk of kidney, heart and vascular (blood vessel) diseases.
Obese pets tend to play and exercise less, and if exercise is vigourous pets are more likely to develop torn knee ligaments (known as “cranial cruciate rupture”); obesity leads to impaired endurance during exercise, increased fatigue.
Obese pets tend to be less able to fight off infectious diseases and may have slower healing.
Because of the insulating properties of fat, obese pets are less able to endure hot weather, and may become more irritable or require enhanced cooling strategies to avoid overheating (hyperthermia).
Breathing problems may be significant if breeds of pets with very short nose/skull conformation (known as brachycephalic) become overweight as the fat presses in on the airways, and heat or exercise both may further compromise the system in these obese pets.
All these effects contribute to a reduced life span and negatively affect the quality of a pet's life. Pets that are healthy and physically fit tend to live longer, are happier and enjoy life more. Talk with us to find out how you can keep your pet physically fit and a healthy weight/body condition score.