Archive for the ‘Pet Obesity’ Category

Oct 9, 2020

The Link Between Obesity and Osteoarthritis

Posted by Bob under osteoarthritis, Pet Obesity

Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant increase in pet obesity rates according to a report conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital. In this report, Banfield determined obesity is the second most common health problem in our pets with 1 out of 3 dogs and cats (in the Banfield population) classified as overweight.

Obesity may cause or exacerbate multiple health issues, including osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a painful inflammatory condition of the joints that is progressive, meaning without intervention it continues to get worse over time. One of its most significant contributing factors in dogs and cats is being overweight. In fact, dogs that are overweight or obese are 2.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis. That means an overweight dog is more than twice as likely to suffer from this painful disease than a dog of ideal weight. With obesity in pets on the rise, it makes sense that osteoarthritis is also on the rise.

The link between obesity and osteoarthritis is an unfortunate vicious cycle: Weight gain causes more wear and tear on your pet’s joints, leading them to be less active and potentially gain more weight. Likewise, sore joints can lead a pet to be less active which can then lead to weight gain. If weight is not lost, the cycle will continue.

Furthermore, reduced activity often leads to more stiffness and pain. As we discussed in this blog, regular exercise tailored to your dog’s breed and physical abilities may reduce the severity or even delay the onset of osteoarthritis. Regular physical activity helps to build and maintain muscle mass as well as aid in joint fluid circulation, both of which support healthier joints.

If you are unsure if your pet is overweight or suffering from osteoarthritis, consult this blog and speak with your veterinarian. Oftentimes pet parents are unaware that their furry family member is overweight or uncomfortable. Veterinarians are trained to assess your pet’s Body Condition Score or “BCS” (see BCS charts for Dogs and Cats to learn more) and detect pain during their physical exam. In addition to increasing controlled exercise, calorie control is also essential. Your veterinarian can help create a diet plan specific to your pet’s needs. Maintaining an ideal body weight is crucial in minimizing discomfort related to osteoarthritis.

If your dog or cat needs more help with his/her osteoarthritis beyond weight loss and customary medications, consult with a veterinarian regarding treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Stem cells have demonstrated the ability to reduce pain and inflammation and to aid in the repair of damaged joints. Need a list of VetStem providers in your area? Contact us here.

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Aug 23, 2019

Is Your Pet Overweight?

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Dog Arthritis, Pet Obesity

In previous blog posts, we discussed risk factors for osteoarthritis and how to reduce or delay the onset of osteoarthritis.  In both of those posts, we mentioned that a pet being overweight may contribute to his/her development of osteoarthritis. 

Unfortunately, it is estimated that approximately 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese.  But how can you tell if your pet is overweight?  Below are some tools to help you determine if your pet is overweight.

One way to tell if your pet is overweight is to determine your pet’s body condition score.  You can look this up online and find pictures of what your pet’s ideal body should look like.  Below is an example of a body score chart for dogs and cats.  What score does your pet receive?  If you’re not sure, your veterinarian can help to determine your pet’s body condition score.

Notice in the chart above, the pictures show the view of dogs and cats from the top.  Looking at your pet from above can be a helpful way to determine if your pet is overweight.  Like the chart above says, you should be able to feel your pet’s ribs but not see them.  There should be a slight layer of fat over your pet’s ribs.  Your pet should also taper at their waist- a bit like an hourglass shape.

Another sign that your pet is overweight is reduced stamina or increased lethargy.  Is your dog panting more or not able to walk as far?  Is your cat unable to jump up on furniture?  Note that these signs can also indicate other, more serious conditions so if you’re concerned about your pet’s behavior, take him/her to the vet.

Nobody wants to be told that their pet is overweight.  But it puts your pet at risk of many diseases so it should not be ignored.  In addition to osteoarthritis, obesity can lead to serious health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Alternatively, your pet may be obese as a result of a health problem such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. 

If you believe your pet may be overweight, a visit to the veterinarian is probably in order.  Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure your pet maintains an ideal weight or to help your pet lose weight.  Your vet can rule out underlying diseases and also help you establish a nutritionally sound diet as well as an exercise routine that is appropriate for your buddy.

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