29 December 2012

Obesity in Pets Part 1

http://petwebinars.co.uk/ This webinar will cover the key things that an owner needs to know about weight issues in Pets. Like in people, obesity is a growing ...

thank you everybody and great to be

there 10 if you heard that first bit of just bring on me too i think a really good really good to do this is the first hopefully of many owner based webinars and I think it's very fitting we start with such a big problem if you excuse the pun of obesity in pets so really I could just want to go through some I guess key aspects that ideally i would say every pet owner should know so what are we going to talk about over the next half an hour so i'll try to answer for you a few what I feel are very important questions number one what is obesity what do we mean when we use this term number two what causes it why is it therefore we're seeing so much overweight and obesity in our pets number three really this is that the crux as to why it's something we worry about it it's what medical problems arise as a result of having too much fat and then finally we'll talk a little bit about how we can prevent it so much of my job is spent managing cases that are already overweight and there are certain strategies that you need to do their best run through a veterinary surgeon but obviously for a pet on what's most important if anything is prevention

rather than cure so I'll give you some hints and tips about how we can try it very very well to keep our pets at an ideal weight so let's move on to that first question what is obesity it doesn't really matter what species you look at effectively it just means having too much body fat so that can be people dogs cats rabbits for instance too much body fat means medically you are obese it's more than just the fat as will come on to in that actually we now know that having too much fat does have health consequences and I will go through that so it's not just a cosmetic issue we really need to emphasize that there is really a health reason as to why we need to make a change if we look at people first and foremost at there are various ways of defining whether you're overweight or not whether or be source and actually these are very strict definitions and they do have a scientific basis so what we normally do for people where we can look at a thing called a body mass index if you're not familiar with this it's your body weight divided by your height x by itself height squared those you can see this is

in metric units that gives you a number and depending on that number you can decide whether determine whether you are in an ideal weight the BMI typically is somewhere between 20 and 25 for men 18 and 25 for for women anything above 25 then you have too much body fat so 25 to 30 you're in the overweight category 30 to 40 that's when you'll medically defined as being obese and then over 40 is the cash gift morbidly obese and as I say there are scientific reasons as to why these terms have used and there is a real basis for it which I will come on to that's people what about dogs and cats well we don't have a working body mass index for dogs and cats we do things in a slightly different way so our equivalent thing is a thing called a body condition score this is something that essentially can be done by examination so we tend to look at our patient have a feel particularly over the ribs as you can see here have a look at the abdomen and a feel for the abdominal tuck and effectively you then come up with a category so depending on what you examine your pet as you can effectively get a score there are various systems available this one here

is one of them and it goes from one to nine so four or five out of nine is ideal weight anything above five out of nine then a differing degrees of too much weight six seven eight and nine so that's again looking like those categories of being overweight and being obese now just to emphasize you can do this yourself it's actually best done by a vet and that in fact the main thing is it's best done by someone else but also some of them with a little bit of experience and that's because studies have shown that I guess we're all a little bit rose-tinted spectacles if you think if you imagine it in terms of our own pets we see our pets as less overweight and they really are therefore it's better that someone else looks at it particularly someone with some training and they'll get an accurate picture of the condition of your dog or cat so if you're interested take your daughter to cap down to your vets and they can have a look and determine a body condition score for your planner for your pet so just if you look at those women out I've got this nine point system and for after 95 and 96 after

nine seven out of nine eight out of nine minus nine each of these units corresponds to about ten percent extra weight as you can see i'm just showing here there is also a five-point system so a half point on that is about the same so like with people we can come up with categories so we know our four out of nine and five after nine are our optimal weight range anything from six upwards then is overweight and so 10 and 60 97 f times roundabout sort of somewhere between anything from above you know about five to twenty percent extra weight and then above that anything over twenty percent is then defined as being obese so that's dogs and cats on the definition of obesity our next question then is well what causes it why does this happen well in fact actually you can either look at it as a very simple thing or you can think of it as something which is quite complex and probably the truth is somewhere in the middle at its simplest it is an energy imbalance those of you who studied physics at school may remember a thing called the law of thermodynamics and what that tells us is that effectively energy cannot be

created or destroyed now for the body what this means is that any energy that enters the body must actually be expended that we through physical activity and heat generation heat production if you like if it's not then it just doesn't disappear it's got to go somewhere calories do not magically appear or disappear where do they go will they go into body fat so if you have a positive energy balance too many calories in you're not burning enough calories you will I guarantee gain body fat that's exactly the same for your cat or dog now the complexity comes with the fact that there are various factors that influence the ease of gain or loss so certain drugs that event would give can sometimes contribute other conditions disease conditions and dogs for instance suffer from an underactive thyroid and again that can slow the metabolic rate left will make it more likely for that pet to gain weight other animal factors certain breeds as we'll see and can play a part and of course remember we've always got to two sides of the coin so it's not just effectively and all factors but there are various owner factors that certain studies have shown

again make it more or less likely turn for that particular pet attached that owner to gain or lose weight okay I'm just a little bit more about those well if you again if you're interested in things I guess all the papers what do they get interested in well they're always interested in finding magical causes so this was a news story when it was first discovered that there were certain genes that made it more likely future become overweight because the thing called the fto gene this was when it was first discovered so this is big news because we always like to have something else to blame you know it's not my fault I'm overweight or it's not my petals and words it's that it's the genetics that's people we know less in pets but we do know that genetics is likely to play a part why is that well that's because if we look at different breeds then different breeds have a greater or lesser tendency to be overweight so this is a very busy graph but I will take you through it on here on the y-axis we've got the percentage here of dogs in different breeds you don't really need to worry about which breeds it's really just the overall

impression the white bars represent the dogs that are in normal-weight those in black are in that category overweight that I defined remember up to about twenty percent extra weight and gray refers to those which are obese oh that's anything above twenty percent and just a few eyeball this you get the impression actually that for overweight and the obese category there's a difference amongst breeds indeed German Shepherd here have very low levels would be seen relative to other breeds cocker spaniels retrievers types they're much greater so clean this does suggest there's an influence of genetics however the other thing this thick of this graph shows which is very important is that for none of these breeds is the prevalence zero so what does that mean that basically means that it's not just genetics other factors must play a part if you if anyone's unconvinced about that then borrowed a picture from work from a colleague this is an overweight greyhound this was the racing greyhound the retired obviously started like leo living the life of luxury and as you can see has a tendency to gain weight so effectively any breed can potentially

become obese if that energy balance is wrong now it's not just about geneticists say there's got to be other factors that play a part and certainly for people it's the environment that we now all find ourselves about if you talk to people who research obesity and people they talk of a thing called the obesogenic environment that basically just means an environment that increases our tendency to gain weight so what things do we have well for you know food actually and particularly high calorie foods are very easy to come by and they're very cheap added to that people are always inventing labor-saving devices it's easier to get in our car and drive somewhere than it is to cycle or to walk and so we're in an environment where we're not expending energy but we're taking calories in at the same time you have that environment and you add susceptible jeans and that effectively means you have a greater tendency to become obese so that's a just a whistle-stop tour through the causes but it just sort of the simplicity and complexity that we're dealing with now let's talk about a

little bit about why obesity is actually important and as I emphasized early on this is not just anything it is not just a cosmetic issue this actually is something which does significantly affect health and it does so in all the species all the species where we see significant problems with obesity again I'll use humans as an example as we talk this through so just excuse me that slide has not quite worked okay it's just give me a second i'll just eat just that i could show you this some this is a slide actually from a human study and it's looking at a population of men