Canine Obesity And Its Effects On Health

See Sammy.

Note the total absence of a "waist" and the heavy fat over the ribs.
Note the total absence of a "waist" and the heavy fat over the ribs.

See Sammy grow.

See Sammy get bigger, and bigger, and bigger and…

In this tight economy everyone is looking for a way to save some money, including saving money on pet care.

Today Sammy came to see us with the dual complaints of itchy ears and scooting his behind. Would you care to associate that with his weight problem?

I did.

Sammy has had problems with his ears before, and just before Christmas, 2009, of all times, he had a really bad infection.

Today, though, his ears were itchy, but the cytology test showed that there was no infection in the ear canals.

The “ears and rears” combination always makes veterinarians put canine food allergy on our list of
differential diagnoses.

Of course, we emptied his anal sacs, as that is also a common source of rear-end itchiness in the dog. We found them both to be moderately full and, as mentioned in the post on anal sacs, the three most common predisposing factors to anal sac impaction are obesity, inactivity and constipation. Sammy is two-for-three!

So, it is very likely that Sammy’s mom, someone who likes to save money, could have avoided the cost of the anal sac problem simply by helping Sammy to lose weight.

Excessive weight predisposes dogs to the same problems excessive weight in people does:

  • metabolic disease, such as canine diabetes mellitus
  • heart disease and heart failure.
  • bone diseases
  • joint problems, including painful arthritis
  • immune system stress
  • premature death

Sammy’s mom, then, can save even more money going forward by helping Sammy to lose weight with an exercise program and a diet of Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d. Within six months Sammy should be at his goal weight and he will be healthier, happier, and live longer.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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