Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Obesity Epidemic Expanding in Dogs and Cats

The rates of overweight and obesity in dogs and cats in the U.S. continued to increase in 2012, with the number of overweight cats reaching an all-time high.

Results of the sixth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey, conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), revealed that 52.5% of dogs and 58.3% of cats were overweight or obese (Figure 1). That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats at increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension, and many cancers.

Figure 1. Incidence of overweight and obesity in cats and dogs (from APOP website).

As Dr. Ernie Ward, APOP’s founder and lead veterinarian for the survey states. “Pet obesity remains the leading health threat to our nation’s pets. We continue to see an escalation in the number of overweight cats and an explosion in the number of type 2 diabetes cases.”

And veterinary endocrinologist and APOP board member Dr. Mark Peterson agrees: “The soaring rate of feline and canine obesity is taking a terrible toll on our animals’ health. There is a vast population of overweight cats and dogs facing an epidemic of diabetes. The best preventive measure a pet owner can make is to keep their dog or cat at a healthy weight. Diabetes is far easier to prevent than treat, especially when twice daily insulin injections are needed.”

For more information about the 2012 National Pet Obesity survey results or the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in general, please visit their website at www.petobesityprevention.com.

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