Meet Mr K. Mr K is a Russian Blue cat, 9 years old and adored by his owners. He has always loved his food and his treats. In July, Mr K visited Anexa Huntly to have his annual vaccinations; during the consult Vet, Katrina Crowe noticed he had put on a lot of extra weight. While a chunky cat can be considered cute and cuddly, being overweight can affect a cat’s life quality. Mr K’s owners wanted what is best for him, so a plan was put in place for Mr K to trim down safely, with the support of both his owners and vet nurse Renee.
Mr K was started on a weight loss diet and has had check-ups every 2 weeks since. We have been using new information around weight loss for pets as part of his treatment which includes an individualised computer calculated weight loss program and body condition scoring and measurements to understand where the weight is being lost. This has been implemented by our nurse Renee who has a special interest in pet weight management and is very impressed with Mr K’s weight loss thus far. Mr K’s person has been following all recommendations given to her by Renee and has been regularly reporting them in her Anexa Healthy Pet booklet. Mr K was a whopping 8.1kg when he first started the programme and only after 3 short months, he has lost a massive 1kg. This doesn’t seem like a lot but for pets (especially cats) it is essential that they lose weight slowly as losing weight to rapidly can cause serious health issues especially related to the liver. At the beginning of his journey Mr K was at a body condition score of 8/9 he is now at a 6/9 an amazing improvement. Renee has loved catching up with Mr K in the clinic and he is doing very well.
Why is Mr K’s weight loss journey 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. This is a list 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 can make surgery more difficult.
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.