US fat cats - and dogs - mirror their owners

February 22nd, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by admin  

New York, Feb 22 (IANS) Obesity is a major problem in the US - and not just among humans, but their pets as well. A new study has found that as many as a third of the pet dogs in the country are fat, and cats are not far behind, Sciencedaily reported.

Just as in humans, obesity in pets is caused by lack of physical activity, ageing, over-eating and genetic predisposition. And it also leads to similar health problems, such as diabetes, the study found.

The study, findings of which have been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, said the prevalence of obesity in dogs is between 22 and 40 percent.

The reasons and the remedies for the problem seem to mirror each other across species.

But genetics can also increase a pet’s risk of being overweight. For instance, Labrador retrievers, beagles and cocker spaniels are all breeds that are more likely to carry some extra pounds.

There are also endocrine diseases that are associated with obesity that must also be considered and ruled out, before the pet undergoes weight reduction, the study said.

Apart from diabetes, overweight pets are likely to suffer from decreased heat tolerance and stamina, increased dermatological conditions, decreased immune function, and multiple musculoskeletal and orthopaedic problems.

If an owner suspects his or her pet is overweight, the first step is to contact the veterinarian.

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