Stolley Park
Veterinary Hospital

3020 W. Stolley Park Road  Grand Island, Nebraska  68801  
Phone:  308-384-6272   Fax:  308-384-0984

January Newsletter

Obesity

Happy New Year!  As you make your New Yearís Resolution this January, donít forget to ask your pet what his goals are for this year.  If he has a weight problem like over 50% of the pet population in the United States, it might be a good idea for him to try to take off a few pounds in 2010.

This may be a sensitive subject for your pet, so approach him gently.  Explain that the blame for his condition lies mainly in decreased activity and increased  calorie consumption (too much eating, not enough moving).  These conditions are most easily met in the winter when itís difficult to get outside and exercise.  And we mustnít forget those holiday treats!  Other risk factors in our overweight pets include genetic predisposition (breed, family history), neutering, certain medications, and endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism and Cushingís disease.

If you didnít think your four legged friend is overweight, and were surprised during the holidays when Cousin Joe called him ďFat FidoĒ, then there are a few easy visual cues that will help you determine if Cousin Joe had too much egg nog, or if he might actually have a point.  In the exam room, we are looking at 3 main things to determine whether your pet is at his ideal weight.

  1. Presence of a waist (contour toward the hind limbs behind the ribs)
  2. Ability to feel but not see the ribs
  3. Palpable bones at the base of the tail

If the waist is losing shape and the ribs are harder to feel, you might then explain to your hairy little friend the possible consequences of his condition.  If theyíre carrying a few extra pounds (and in small dog or cat, a few extra pounds is all it takes), our pets can be more prone to joint disease, heart disease, back problems, diabetes and exercise intolerance or lethargy.  Not only can some of these problems be life threatening, at the very least they can greatly affect quality of life.  Letís be honest, good quality of life is one of our primary goals for our pets.  If they arenít happy then we arenít happy.

Since we want our friends to be happy, healthy and around as long as possible, please contact your veterinarian if you think your buddy might be carrying some extra pounds.  Weíd be glad to discuss goals for safe and effective weight loss, and help you start your petís year off right.

Some safe low calorie treat options:

  • carrots
  • celery
  • canned green beans
  • rice cakes
  • low fat pop corn