Posts Tagged ‘obesity’
We can assess whether our smaller pets are over or under weight by first looking at their overall size, look at your pet from the size and from above. You should be able to see a waist, if the waist is pronounced your pet may need to put on a few pounds or if the waist is not defined your pet may need to lose a few pounds.
You can also assess by feeling under your pet’s tummy, their tummy should go in and not bulge out.
By running your hands over the side of your pet, you can assess if the skin moves freely over their ribs and should be easy to feel under a thin fat layer.
Run your hands along their back, you should be able to feel their hips and spine easily under a thin fat layer.
For rabbits, check the area of the base of the tail at where the tail joins the spine, there should not be any build-up of fat here.
Obesity can be a contributing factor in the case of other conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and pododermatiitis.
It can also be dangerous in cases of anorexia as they will metabolise fat which can be lead to hepatic lipidosis.
Rabbits should have a diet of high fibre pellets, add lib grass, hay and greens to prevent obesity and to lose weight.
If your dog is losing or gaining weight, and you have not change their daily allowances of food, there may be an underlying medical condition. Here are some conditions that can influence an animal’s weight.
- Thyroid problems – Dogs can experience thyroid issues which may cause them to gain or lose weight quickly. Hypothyroidism is commonly seen in dogs (more so than hyperthyroidism which is often seen in cats), and can cause individuals to gain weight as a clinical symptom.
- Parasites – Internal parasites can burrow in a dog’s intestinal system and deprive them of the nutrients they require, potentially leading to sudden weight loss.
- Liver Disease – Dogs that are experiencing liver disease may show weight loss.
- Diabetes – Diabetes is also known as insulin deficiency, where an animal is unable to absorb sugar from blood. Diabetic dogs will tend to have a large appetite but still experience weight loss.
- Arthritis – Dogs that are experiencing joint pain may be reluctant to exercise or play and as a result may experience weight gain. A controlled diet to take this into consideration can help.
- Cushing’s Disease – this is a condition where an animal produces too much of a hormone called cortisol. This condition is normally accompanied by weight gain.
- Dental problems – if your dog is experiencing dental issues, they may find eating very painful and lose weight as a result of their decreased intake.
How do I assess my cat’s weight?
Firstly to assess if your cat is a healthy weight, we would begin by looking at the animal’s ribs. At ideal weight you will be able to place your hands over their ribs and feel their ribs easily with minimal fat covering. For a cat that is underweight, their ribs will be pronounced with little fat cover and will benefit from gaining weight. For a cat that is overweight, you may find it difficult to feel their ribs if there is a large amount of fat covering and will benefit from losing a little weight.
Secondly we can look at your cat’s body shape from above. At ideal weight their waist will gather in behind the last rib. For a cat that is overweight, there will be no obvious waist line.
Next we can look at their tummy. When they are standing, a cat’s tummy line should tuck in behind their ribs when they are at ideal weight. In a cat that is overweight, their tummy may be rounded or may have a ‘fat pad’ that sags down, these individuals may benefit from slight weight loss.
Lastly we can assess the cat’s spine by running our fingers down their spine. In a cat at ideal weight you will be able to feel the spine with a thin covering of fat, but it won’t be prominently seen. If a cat is underweight, the spine will be visible with little fat covering and would benefit from a weight gain. If a cat is overweight, the spine will be difficult to feel with a large fat lining and may benefit from a little weight loss.