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The Evils Of Obesity In Pets

By Dr Tunji Nasir
13 February 2015   |   11:00 pm
THE evils of obesity are, indeed, very scary, and they are as bad as they come.    All over the world and in clinical practice particularly, obese individuals are no delights to medical or veterinary practitioners, because encounters with them always pose a lot of risks, especially when it concerns management of diseases.    It…

THE evils of obesity are, indeed, very scary, and they are as bad as they come. 

  All over the world and in clinical practice particularly, obese individuals are no delights to medical or veterinary practitioners, because encounters with them always pose a lot of risks, especially when it concerns management of diseases. 

  It takes an extra care to be able to accomplish successful completion of most encounters without mishaps.

  By their nature, obese pets have been found to be predisposed to some diseases and conditions that do nothing, but decrease the livability of the pets and could ultimately separate them from you, the owner, eternally. 

  This is because, these are, indeed, serious conditions whose management can be time-consuming, financially excruciating, and above all, with prognosis, hard to contemplate. 

  My colleagues will, in fact, score them guarded to poor.

  Conditions, such as hypothyroidism, where there is a deficiency of the thyroid hormones and hyperadrenocorticism (better referred to as Cushingis syndrome), which leaves a plethora of devastating symptoms, have been found to have uncanny relationships with obesity. 

  Also, with diabetes mellitus, obesity has a potent and destructive partnership, because of the build up of excess sugar that are not burnt up, as a result of lack of exercise by the pets.

  Other problems that obesity can lead to include the following:

I. Rupture of cruciate ligament

  The cruciate ligaments are very important in stabilising the knee joint for effective ambulation.     

  Because of their weight and excessive stress on the joint, obese animals put a lot of strain on this apparatus, and when eventually ruptured, lameness ensues and it can be very difficult indeed to manage this condition. 

  A lot of these very heavy breeds are likely candidates- Boerboels, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, etc. 

II. Dyspnea and fatigue

  Dyspnea is difficult breathing and fatigue is a state of tiredness and it goes without saying that obese animals, because of the excess fat, put a lot of strain on the cardio-respiratory system, resulting in these conditions. 

  In fact, it has been proved that obese dogs are more prone to very serious cardiomyopathies and would have to struggle to survive the conditions, which are mostly life-long.            

III. Impaired reproductive efficiency

  These can be important in both males and the female animals. For the males, effective mating cannot be ensured when the subject is easily fatigued and has difficulty breathing.   

  He may not be able to complete the mating ritual and could lose interest easily during its course.

  For the females, it goes beyond fatigue; it is more of clogging of the system with fats that do not allow for efficient expression of the reproductive potential of the body as a result of additional burden of fat deposit on the ovaries, tubular blockage.

  That could even prevent attachment of fertilised eggs on the wall of the uterus.

IV. Dystocia  

  This simply means difficulty in parturition (the act of giving birth to young ones). 

  Obese animals are more likely to encounter this condition due to absolute fetal oversize. And as a result of their being prone easily to fatigue, weak myometrial contractions become exacerbated, all to the detriment of the birthing process.

V. Surgical/anaesthetic risk

  Obese animals are more at risk during induction and maintenance of anaesthesia and, in fact, during surgical intervention. 

  This is because the anaesthetist in some cases may exceed the required dose of the anaesthetic as a result of delayed induction due to the delay of the drug crossing the blood- fat barrier.

  Most times, delayed uptake have led to excessive consumption by the brain, which eventually dies because of the over dosage that was not originally intended.

  You see, I have taken time to list a few of the important consequences of obesity, so that you could have an insight into why it is manifestly wrong to indulge in wrong feeding of your pets. 

  It takes only common sense to understand that it is better not to precipitate this nasty condition, as most owners find it very difficult to manage at the end of the day.