Tag Archives: University of Liverpool

Another reason to keep your dog fit and trim

University of Liverpool researchers have found that obese dogs can experience metabolic syndrome, a condition that describes multiple health issues that occur in the body at the same time.  Obese humans suffer from the same syndrome.

The condition occurs when a number of health problems, such as increased blood glucose and increased cholesterol levels, develop together, with the potential to increase the risk of other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In a study of 35 obese dogs, 20% had metabolic syndrome.  These dogs had increased blood insulin which suggests that the pancreas is working harder than normal.  Blood adiponectin, a protein produced by fat cells that helps control sugars and fats, was also at lower levels than normal.

The metabolic abnormalities improved when the dogs successfully lost weight.

The research team admits that they have to study the impacts in more detail to understand the health implications of metabolic syndrome.

However, why wait for more studies?  If your dog is overweight we already know that their quality of life improves with weight loss.

Source: University of Liverpool media release

Quality of life improves when obese dogs shed excess weight

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have published the results of a study into the quality of life of obese dogs in The Veterinary Journal.

The researchers tracked various quality of life indicators with the owners of 50 dogs who were classified as obese.  These dogs were of various breeds and a mixture of males and females.   The same questionnaire was repeated once the dogs went through a weight loss programme (for the dogs that were successful in losing weight, and those that were not).

Photo courtesy of University of Liverpool

The vitality scores for the dogs that lost weight increased and their scores for emotional disturbance and pain decreased. The more body fat that the dogs lost, the greater their improvement in vitality.

Some people may think ‘these results are a no-brainer’ but in veterinary and other clinical medicine fields, the norm is ‘evidence-based medicine.’  That is, practitioners like veterinarians want results from research that is measurable and defensible when applying or recommending treatments.

Since obesity is linked to problems with the heart, arthritis and other conditions, research likes this helps to underpin the importance of the healthy weight message.

The same basic principles for weight loss in dogs apply to humans:  use portion control, increase exercise and activity, and eat healthy foods.