“Feed me, if you dare!” is probably the most popular quote said by Shrek’s feline friend Puss in Boots during Shrek 4: Happily Ever After. While it is amusing and even kind of cute to watch Puss become an overly-spoiled, fat, and lazy house cat, whose only ambition is drinking cream all day, there is absolutely nothing funny about pet obesity. According to veterinarian, Dr. Ernie Ward, “Pet obesity is now the biggest health threat to pets in the US…The costs of obesity in illness and injury make it the number one medical issue seen in today’s veterinary hospitals.”
A cat with a 23″ waist.
During his 2009 study, Dr. Ward found that 35 million dogs (45%) and 54 million of our nation’s cats (58%) fall in the “Overweight and Obese” category. While there has been a lot of fuss and studies on obesity in Americans, little to no media attention or action has been taken to help curb the sky-rocketing trend in our nations pets.
So how do a few extra pounds result in soaring vet bills? Simply put, the same health issues that arise for overweight and obese people, also arise for pets: type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and other joint issues, high blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory disease, many forms of cancer, and a shortened life span.
In addition to being a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Ward has also been a lifelong advocate for physical fitness and is one of the leading researchers on Overweight and Obesity issues in domestic pets in the US. He started the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in 2005, offering his colleagues and clients an unbiased source of information on food and treats and weight loss information, hoping to improve the bodies and lives of people and their pets.
On October 13, 2006, Dr. Ward held the first – and now annual – Pet Obesity Awareness Day. On this special day veterinarians, clinics, and pet owners, take a few extra measurements of the animal they are examining (or own) and send the numbers off to Dr. Ward for documentation and to help continue his research on overweight pet trends.
If you or your practice are interested in participating in the 2010 Pet Obesity Awareness Day, you can sign up any time before October 5, 2010; to sign up or in obtaining further information, please click here.
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Skye Campbell Freelance Writer
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