Pet obesity is a chronic disease with serious consequences like diabetes, fatty liver syndrome, skin disease, urinary tract disease, and arthritis. We say it is a chronic disease because it is something the owners and pets live with. Owners must be aware that their pets are prone to obesity and could be again if changes are not made. Scottie has been dealing with weight issues for a few years now.
Scottie’s owner brought him to the clinic in August 2020. At that time, I talked to her about the importance of weight loss for Scottie and his friend Charlie (after all, it is always better to have a work out partner!). Scottie started his weight loss journey weighing in at fifteen pounds while a Chihuahua’s ideal weight should be closer to 9lbs. The end goal is not just to get down to an ideal weight but to look and feel better.
There are a few things that I take into consideration when I make a weight loss program for a pet. Each animal and household is different, so it is best to learn about the owners and pets daily schedule and lifestyle. To be successful, I need to make a program that is suitable and easy for the owner. Body condition scoring can be easily taught to owners to be able to track their pets progress at home.
Body conditioning is based on a scale from one to five. One being underweight, three being ideal, over three bring overweight, and five being obese. This scale can also go from one to nine and five is ideal. The areas we look for to decide the scoring is the amount of fat coverage over the ribs and a distinct waistline.
Scottie came back to the clinic for weight check-ins periodically and I would address the owner’s concerns or worries as well. I check in on my weight loss program patients weekly for the first few weeks and then monthly after that. This personal interaction can help with success because it can be very frustrating for the owner. To get Scottie to his goal, his owner took him and his work out partner on walks, gave vegetables as treats, and stuck to the diet plan. Will Power is what got Scottie’s owner through the journey.
Scottie came in to the clinic at the end of March and he weighed nine pounds. Scottie lost six pounds total and that is a huge success for a small breed dog! It took a lot of work and perseverance from Scottie’s owner.
Scottie now has a defined waistline and is a perfect 3/5 for body condition score. He is also more active and loves running around with the other dogs at home. His hair coat is also very shiny so I know that is a good indication of health.