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Breeding Your Dog

A bitch (female dog) can produce 1-2 litters of puppies each year. If you are not intending to let your bitch have puppies then you should have her neutered to prevent disease and extend her life expectancy.

 

However, if you do decide to breed from your bitch there are many things to consider to ensure that both mother and puppies are strong and healthy.

 

How do I go about choosing a mate for my dog?

 

A bitch in season will often attract an army of potential suitors from the local dog population and around the time she is most fertile she may become desperate to escape to meet up with them! You will probably want to have some say in her choice and it is essential to keep her securely indoors and walk her on a lead or away from other dogs during this time. There are already many unwanted dogs and puppies, the majority arising from the consequences of such chance matings.

 

If you have a pedigree dog you might want to find a partner of the same breed so that the puppies are purebred and you should speak to an experienced breeder of your breed well in advance of planning the mating. Information on local breeders can be obtained from the breed club secretary or the Kennel Club web site:

https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/8261/breeding.pdf

 

What information do I need?

 

Certain breeds have particular problems when giving birth so it is advisable to speak to an experienced breeder of these breeds before going ahead with a mating. There is a high incidence of some genetic problems in certain breeds and many breeds operate screening schemes to prevent breeding from affected animals. Your dog may have to undergo X-rays, eye examination or other tests at your vets before being mated.

 

When is the right time to breed from my dog?

 

Bitches should not be allowed to have puppies until they are fully grown and are mature themselves. This age will vary from breed to breed and between individuals. The first season may occur between 6 months and 18 months of age but few recommend allowing a bitch to become pregnant at her first season. Most breed societies recommend breeding from bitches that are older than 2 years at the time of birth.

 

How often will my bitch come into season?

Most bitches develop a pattern of seasons which usually occur with a regular interval between 5 months and 1 year. Seasons usually last around 3 weeks and bitches are most receptive around 10-14 days into the cycle

 

When should my dog mate?

Bitches are usually mated twice during the receptive period. You can start counting the days of her cycle from when you first see signs of bloody discharge at the vulva. However some bitches have very light discharge and you may easily miss the first few days. The best way to find the right time of mating is to do some blood tests starting around day 7-9.

 

Bitches produce a hormone called progesterone at the time that they release the eggs (ovulate) to be fertilised and this can be used to time the mating. The tests have to be repeated every 2-3 days to find the right time for mating. If the bitch ovulates between day 12-15, as most of them do, two or three tests should give you the expected result.

 

‘Late’ bitches can require more testing, but it is worth doing these tests as these bitches would not conceive at the normal time. There are other signs to look out for like the bitch standing and turning her tail and her discharge changing from bloody to a lighter colour.

How do I know if my bitch is pregnant?

The hormonal changes following a bitch’s season follow a very similar pattern whether or not she is pregnant. Therefore many bitches develop a so-called ‘false pregnancy’ and often show changes in behaviour and may even show mammary development and milk production.

 

It can be very difficult to be sure your bitch is pregnant merely by feeling her tummy. In the early stages the developing foetuses are very small and easy to miss. If only 1 pup is present it might be difficult to locate even at full term. The best way to confirm that your bitch is pregnant is to ask your vet to perform an ultrasound scan around 2-3 weeks after mating. At this time the scan should also give an indication of roughly how many puppies are present. Of course some of these foetuses may not make it to full term but it provides a good guide to litter size. There is also a blood test for a hormone called ‘Relaxin’, the pregnancy specific hormone in dogs. This test can be useful if ultrasound is not available.

 

Is there anything else I need to do?

In the last third of the pregnancy you may want to increase the amount you feed your bitch. However, if she has a large number of puppies (or they are large) the distended womb may fill her belly and make it difficult for her to eat larger meals. It is a good idea to split feeding into 3 smaller meals throughout the day. Many breeders will switch to feeding the bitch on puppy food in the last trimester, as this has higher energy and protein level as well as more Calcium and Phosphorus (minerals which are important for the development of healthy bones and teeth).

 

When your bitch has given birth she will need a secure bed in which to raise the puppies. Prepare this a few weeks before the puppies are due so that the mother can get used to sleeping there and is settled for the birth.

 

When will the puppies be born?

Normal pregnancy in the bitch is 63 days from conception although smaller dog breeds often have shorter pregnancies. The time from mating to conception can be very variable in the dog and it is possible for conception to occur up to 7 days after mating. Calculation of the delivery date is best based on results of examination of smears taken from the vagina or hormone tests made before conception. Alternatively ultrasound in the first few weeks of pregnancy may allow ageing of the foetuses.

Anal Sac Disease

 

Anal sac problems are very common in pet dogs and are frequently seen by veterinary surgeons. In most cases, the conditions are easily treated, though they can sometimes recur.

 

What are anal sacs?

 

Anal sacs (sometimes referred to by vets as anal glands) are two small pockets located on either side of the dog’s bottom with openings to the surface at about the 4 and 8 o’clock positions. They produce a strongly scented substance that is deposited on the faeces and contributes to scent and territorial marking in dogs. The passage of faeces usually results in emptying of the glands in healthy dogs. The strong scent, designed to last a long time in the environment, is part of the way dogs communicate with one another.

 

Anal sacs may also occasionally be emptied in times of distress or panic, eg a dog fight or a road traffic accident, resulting in a strong smell coming from the injured dog. The secretion usually has an unusual fishy odour, unpleasant to the human nose.

 

Blocked anal sacs or glands

 

In this very common condition, the anal sacs fail to empty, possibly because the ducts leading to the surface are too narrow, or because the consistency of the dog’s faeces is too loose. Many dogs have anal sacs that do not empty normally. When they get very full, they can cause discomfort, usually showing as:

 

Licking the anal area excessively.

Sitting down abruptly and clamping the tail.

Dragging the bottom along the ground (‘scooting’) – often misunderstood by owners as a symptom of worms.

 

Infected anal sacs or anal sac abscess

The anal sacs can become infected, possibly as a result of chronic blockage (see above). If an abscess develops, the symptoms can be severe. All the signs of anal sac blockage may be present and the affected dog may be very uncomfortable and even aggressive if the hind quarters are approached or touched. The abscess may burst out to the surface, producing a foul smelling or bloody discharge. Symptoms usually ease off at this point as pressure is released and pain decreases.

 

Treatment of common anal sac problems

In the case of straightforward blockage, periodic emptying by the veterinary surgeon is required. Some dogs need this done every 4-8 weeks; in others it is a much less frequent occurrence. Occasionally, it may be possible for an owner to learn how to perform this task, though many prefer to leave it to their vet.

 

Sometimes changing the composition of the diet may help. Adding more fibre to promote a bulkier stool is often recommended. It has to be said that this does not always work but is certainly worth trying.

 

If infection is present, a course of antibiotics may be needed. The anal sacs may also be flushed with saline or dilute antiseptic solutions under sedation or anaesthesia to help eliminate the problem.

 

Abscesses may require surgery to aid drainage and resolution of the infection, together with a course of antibiotics and, often, painkillers.

 

Persistent anal sac problems may be treated by surgical removal of the anal sacs. This tends to be reserved for dogs experiencing frequent, moderate to severe problems with early recurrence after the above treatments. Removal of the anal sacs carries a small risk of incontinence due to the proximity of important nerves in the area. This may be temporary or permanent.

Lung Worm (Angiostrongylus Vasorum)

 

Although the early stages of the parasite do affect the lungs and severely infected dogs may show signs of coughing, other signs are far more common. This is a parasite where the adult worm infects dogs but the young stages are carried by slugs and snails.

The parasite itself may not cause the dog any problems unless present in very large numbers. However, in order to survive in the blood vessels the parasite releases substances which affect the clotting of the host’s blood. Thus infected dogs are more prone to bleeding than normal dogs.

This bleeding can pose a life-threatening risk to an affected pet. Thus this parasite can be more dangerous to a dog than the more common worms that live in the intestine and it is very important to take precautions to prevent infection.

This disease used to be confined to dogs living in the South of the country (especially the South East, South West and South Wales). However, in the last ten years the disease has become much more common and has been seen in dogs as far North as Scotland. All dogs in the UK should now be considered potentially at risk.

How could my dog get infected?

The adult worms spend most of their lives in the blood vessels close to the heart. However, when the eggs laid by the adults hatch, the immature worms (larvae) force their way through the walls of the blood vessels and into the lungs. The dog then coughs up the larvae and swallows them. The larvae pass into the faeces which is in turn eaten by slugs and snails (which love dog poo!). The larvae develop in their new host until this is eaten by a dog.

Slugs and snails often crawl into dog’s food bowls or onto toys if these are left outside. Dogs also eat these garden pests when drinking from outdoor water sources and eating grass. Once back in the dog the young worms make their way back through the dog’s body to the blood vessels.

How do I know if my dog is infected?

Many infected dogs show no signs of illness. Dogs that are unwell show a wide range of symptoms: breathing problems, coughing, bleeding excessively from cuts or bleeding internally with no signs of trauma, anaemia and loss of condition. Other animals may show neurological changes including seizures. If your dog is unwell in any way make an appointment to see your vet at Saint Leonard Vet Centre.

How would my vet know what is wrong with my dog?

Not all dogs with lungworm show breathing-associated signs. The adult worms in the blood vessels and heart can cause heart failure but also produce a substance to stop the blood clotting. This can cause your dog to bleed, with or without an injury. The bleeding can take place inside the body and may affect the brain or eyes resulting in seizures or blindness.

It is unlikely that your vet will know straight away what is wrong with your dog and they will need to do a number of tests in most cases to make the diagnosis. If you live in an area where lungworm is common your vet may be more familiar with the disease and may be suspicious of the signs at an earlier stage. If there is a suspicion that your dog is infected your vet can do a test for lungworms.

If my dog is infected can it pass disease to me or my other pets?

The infection can’t pass direct from to dog without first passing through a slug or snail. However, if you have several dogs living in the same household and one is found to be infected it is likely that the others will also be at high risk of infection. The common lungworm of dogs (Angiostrongylus vasorum) does not affect cats or people.

What is the treatment for lungworm?

The aims of treatment are to eliminate the lungworm infection and also to manage the clinical signs. There are a number of drugs that can be used to eliminate the worms but infected dogs should be monitored carefully when receiving treatment as the sudden killing of the worms could result in a severe allergic reaction.

If your dog has severe signs (particularly affecting the brain or signs of heart failure) your vet will want to keep your pet in the hospital for specialised care.

Will my dog get better?

Most dogs go on to make a full recovery with appropriate treatment. However, infection can prove fatal for some dogs despite intensive treatment.

How can I protect my dog against lungworm?

Most dogs are infected by contact with slugs or snails (and usually from eating these) – so if you can reduce your dog’s exposure to these that will reduce the risk.

Regular treatment of your dog with a product that can kill the worms can help to protect them against infection. The standard worming treatment that you give your pet every 3 months or so may not protect them from lungworm infections.

You will need to get additional treatment from your vet.

Fireworks

It is estimated that between 45% and 70% of dogs and cats are afraid of fireworks, and of these, perhaps one in 10 requires veterinary treatment. To a great extent, however, it is a treatable problem and we have a few pointers here to get you started. Should your pet be severely affected, do seek help from your vet and/or a behaviourist

Signs that might suggest your pet is struggling to cope with loud noises are: trembling or shaking, clinging to owners, barking excessively, cowering or hiding behind furniture, pacing and panting, refusing food, soiling the house and trying to run away. Many owners will try to reassure their pets as they do their loved ones – with stroking/physical contact or talking to them. This unfortunately reinforces the idea that pets should be afraid and it is preferable to ignore fearful behaviour, whilst remembering that animals will be more relaxed with a familiar person present. Dogs are likely to pick up on any anxiety their owners are feeling so staying calm and relaxed for them is paramount! Their usual routine may benefit from slight changes to ensure they are not taken for walks after dark when fireworks may be let off. In addition, try to feed and settle them for the evening before any whizzes or bangs begin and keep cats in the house for the night. Make sure your house and garden are secure in case your pet is suddenly startled and tries to run away – microchipping and a dog tag are essential. Keep pets indoors, close the curtains and play music or turn the television on to disguise the noises, consider making a den of old, familiar blankets to enable your pet to hide away and settle. Similarly, if your cat is happier hidden under the dresser, leave them there as long as they need.

Adaptil (DAP) – Dog Appeasing Pheromone is a synthetic version of a chemical produced by the mother after birth and can naturally calm older dogs. It is best to place a diffuser near your dog’s favourite spot and turn it on several days before the firework period begins. There is a CD that can be used in conjunction with Adaptil to desensitise your dog to typical firework noises. It usually takes several weeks to see a marked improvement and so is best carried out well in advance – contact Knutsford Vets if you would like to know more. For cats, Feliway performs a similar function, although there is not as much information as to whether desensitisation to loud noises works. There are herbal remedies available for both dogs and cats which are worth trying to see what your pet responds to best. If your pet becomes severely stressed, then do approach your vet to discuss sedatives but beware that all drugs have potential side effects. Especially in older pets, blood testing to check kidney and liver function is preferable before starting medication, especially as fireworks can be a concern for several weeks.
If you have any queries or would like to know more information about any of the products mentioned, or any veterinary treatments available, please do contact us on 01332 345119.

General Health Care

What are the signs of good health?

A healthy animal will have bright eyes, clean ears, eyes and nose and be interested in what is going on around it. The amount of food an animal eats varies a lot between individuals – if your pet’s weight remains constant then they are eating the right amount of food. You should be concerned if your pet’s appetite or water consumption suddenly changes, or your pet suddenly starts to gain or lose weight. When in good condition a pet’s coat should be shiny, soft and free of parasites.

How do I keep my pet in good health?

To keep your pet in good condition it must be fed a healthy diet and allowed regular exercise. Mental stimulation in the form of an interesting environment and opportunities to play are also important. The closer your pet’s diet and environment is compared to how it would eat and live in the wild, the healthier and happier it will be.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet is a balanced diet containing all thenutrients your pet requires. Not all small pets requirements are the same. For example, mice, gerbils,hamsters and rats are omnivores, which means that, like us, they naturally eat mainly vegetable matter, but to keep in good health require some food of animal origin as well, eg cheese, insects, meat, egg, etc. Guinea pigs, rabbitsand chinchillas are herbivores, which means they only eat vegetable matter, eg grass, hay, fresh fruit and vegetables.Ferrets, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores, which means they are only designed to eat protein, however very occasionally it is possible for them to eat other food in small quantities as a treat.

How can I maintain my pet’s health?

There are a number of measures that can help prevent your pet developing diseases. You should discuss the special needs of your pet with your vet.

Neutering

It is a sad truth that the number of pets born every year is far greater than the number of good homes that can be found for them. As a result, thousands of healthy animals are destroyed and many unwanted animals are abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Having your pet neutered will help to reduce the number of unwanted animals and can also help to safeguard your pet’s health and welfare. Neutering is a common procedure in rabbits; guinea pigs and chinchillas can also be neutered. It is less common to have other small pets like rats and mice neutered and most people tend to keep them in groups where all animals are the same sex.

Vaccinations

Most small pets do not require vaccinations against disease. However, rabbits are susceptible to two fatal diseases, Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) for which a safe and effective vaccination is available. Make sure your rabbit is regularly vaccinated against these diseases if you want them to stay fit and healthy.

Dental care

All rodents and rabbits have front teeth that grow continuously, so a high fibre diet is essential to allow the teeth to wear down naturally. You could provide something for your pet to gnaw on, for example a wood or hide chew toy. This will help to keep your pet’s teeth in good condition and prevent dental problems. If you notice that your pet’s teeth are growing too long, your vet will be able to trim or file them down with a dental drill. Ferrets tend not to suffer from dental problems unless they are fed a poor, moist diet.

How do I know if my pet is unwell?

If your pet has a poor coat condition, dull eyes, dirty ears, eyes or nose it may indicated that they are unwell. Changes in behaviour (a normally happy and affectionate pet may become grumpy and avoid human contact, preferring to hide away by itself), altered appetite or water consumption should also alert you to the possibility that there may be a problem with your pet. Most animals recover from illness in 24-48 hours – if your pet does not seem to be improving in this time or is getting worse then you should contact your vet.

A Stressed Cat

A number of factors can cause cats stress. Such factors include moving house, a new member of the family (for example a new baby or a new animal joining the household) or something of shorter duration such as a visit to the vets. It is important to be able to recognise both potential stressors (things that cause stress) and the symptoms of stress in order to help prevent and alleviate it and keep cats happy.

How do I know if my cat is stressed?

Cats can show their stress in a number of ways but there are certain key signs to look out for in your cat’s facial expressions and body posture. When a cat’s pupils are very large they indicate that the cat is aroused and that arousal may be due to stress associated with pain, fear or anxiety. A cat that is stressed for a short time (eg from a startle or the approach of an unfriendly cat) may raise its back in an arch, flatten its ears and erect its fur. A cat that is stressed for longer periods of time (for reasons such as living with a cat it does not like or an inability to cope in a boarding cattery) may not groom and have a scruffy looking coat due or may appear dull and lifeless, often curled up with its head pressed closed to its body.

How does a stressed cat behave?

Cats tend to express their stress either actively or inactively depending on their temperament. An active type cat that is stressed will often vocalise excessively and if confined (eg in a vet cage or boarding cattery) may attempt to escape or spend long periods of time trying to gain attention. Conversely, an inactive type cat often exhibits stress by being as quiet as possible and trying to find a place to hide. It may hide its head or whole body under its bed or hide somewhere within the house. Cats that are stressed can often change their feeding and toileting patterns. They may withdraw from eating or eat excessively and they may start toileting outside of their litter boxes.

What sort of things stress a cat?

Many factors can cause stress and what one cat may find stressful, another may not. However, cats are often stressed by a change in their lifestyle, routine and/or environment. Examples include a visit to the vets, a stay in a boarding cattery, a new baby, other cats in the neighbourhood, building works or renovations to the home, or a new pet. For sensitive cats, something as minor as a new piece of furniture or a change in position of the litter tray can be stressful.

Do cats pull out their fur when they are stressed?

In some extreme cases cats can pull their fur out (or more commonly groom an area so much the hair is removed) when they are stressed. However, there are a number of medical reasons why a cat may over-groom or lose its fur including skin complaints and allergies. If you notice your cat is losing fur or has bald patches, take it to the vet for an examination. Cats may also groom very little or stop completely if they are stressed, therefore any change in normal grooming should be monitored and reported to your vet.

Is it stressful for a cat to live without access to the outdoors?

There is a lot of debate on the topic of welfare of the indoor only cat. If a cat has to be kept indoors only (eg due to a disability or living close to a busy road), it is important its behavioural needs are met in order to prevent it getting stressed. Foraging games, interactive play, hiding places, scratching posts, high walkways and vantage points at windows are all important ways of enriching the indoor environment in an attempt to prevent stress.

How do I reduce the stress for my cat when moving house?

The first step would be to put your cat’s carrier in a nice safe quiet place in a room in your current house that your cat spends lots of time in. Place your cat’s favourite treats and toys in the carrier to encourage your cat to use it. Building the association that the carrier is a nice place will help your cat cope with the journey to the new house. Synthetic pheromone sprayed in the carrier 30 minutes before travelling may also help with the journey. Once at the new home, confine your cat to one room initially until he or she is confident and secure and the unpacking has finished. Make sure you take the cat’s old bedding to the new house so he or she has something that smells familiar. Alternatively, placing your cat in a cattery while the house move takes place means the cat does not need to experience the stress often associated with packing and unpacking homes.

My cat gets really stressed when we go to the vets, what can I do?

There are a number of things that may stress your cat about a visit to the vets. It may be going in the cat carrier, travelling in the car, waiting in the waiting room where there are strange smells and sights (and even dogs) or it may be the actual vet examination itself. It is common for a combination of these events to stress a cat. In order to try and make the visit as stress free as possible for your cat, leave the cat box open in the home at all times. Try making it a positive place by putting food and toys in there. A synthetic pheromone spray can be sprayed in the box 30 minutes prior to travelling to help the cat cope during the journey. Travelling time and waiting time are both known stressors to cats so don’t make any extra stop offs to or from the vets. At the vets, place the carrier high up if possible and try to keep in an area of the waiting room away from dogs.

How can I prevent my cat getting stressed?

Stress is a part of life for all animals but too much can cause behavioural and medical problems. Within the home there are a number of things that can be done to try to minimise stressors. These include providing:
Adequate numbers of litter trays for the cats residing in the home (general rule is one per cat plus one)
Plenty of places to gain food and water (separately) within the home
A choice of places to rest (up high, away from hustle and bustle of household)
Opportunities for your cat(s) to express hunting behaviour (through play and foraging games)
A secure home. Make sure no neighbouring cats can enter your cats home (magnetic collared cat flap or microchip scanning cat flaps can help prevent unwanted cats in the home).

Should I see my vet if I think my cat is stressed?

Yes, if you think your cat is experiencing stress, the vet should always be your first point of contact. Not only can the vet check for medical causes of stress, they can advise you on further help if the problem appears to be behavioural.

Should I get another cat to help my cat feel calmer?

Cats do not have the complex emotional social groups that people enjoy. While company may make a person feel less stressed, this isn’t necessarily the case for a cat. Adding another cat to an environment where the existing cat already feels stressed is not guaranteed to help.

Feline Behaviour

Cats are very special creatures and despite man’s best efforts are not that far removed from their wild ancestors. They have a large range of behavioural patterns and a secret language of their own. So whilst we bring them into our homes and try to tame them they do tend to continue to know their own mind and ‘do their own thing’! This can be very frustrating for cat owners but the truth is you have to learn to live with cat rather than them learn to live with you. Understanding why they behave the way they do can help you develop strategies to persuade your cat to do things the way you want.

Can cats be trained?

Dogs are probably easier to train than cats because dogs are keen to please their owners. Cats, on the other hand, are highly motivated by their own pleasure. The key to cat training is to make sure that you make whatever you want your cat to do highly rewarding. Behaviours that you don’t want should be unpleasant for the cat. Punishing cats does not work – they will just learn to misbehave when you cannot see them! Some cats misbehave to get attention and this attention is a reward that encourages your cat to continue this behaviour.

How do I train my cat to use a litter box?

Cats are naturally very clean and litter training is easy in most cases. After feeding or waking take your kitten to a clean litter tray. When your cat gets to the box, scratch the litter to get her interested. The litter tray must always be kept clean so that your cat learns it is a great place to be. If your cat uses the tray let her know how pleased you are.

Can I stop my cat from hunting?

Many owners find it difficult to get used to the fact that their cute pet is also a cruel hunter. It is especially difficult to live with a cat that insists on bringing his prey home. Hunting is a very strong instinct in cats and they will continue to chase and catch prey even when they are well fed. Kittens instinctively use hunting behaviour in their play and as they get older they develop the techniques through practise.
You will not be able to stop your cat hunting unless you keep them indoors all the time. Fitting a bell on a collar may reduce the number of animals that your cat catches.

Why does my cat scratch the furniture?

Claws are an important part of the armoury of cats in the wild. They use them for hunting, fighting and climbing. It is important therefore that the claws are kept sharp and in good condition. Scratching conditions your cat’s claws by removing the old layers of the nails. Cats may scratch at furniture in order to keep their claws sharp but usually you can teach them that this is unacceptable behaviour by making the experience unpleasant, ie by shouting when they do it. However, you will need to teach your cat where they are allowed to scratch and provide something for the purpose such as a scratching post. Cats may also scratch furniture in order to mark it and define their territory. If your cat persists in this behaviour you may need to get some advice from your vet to help you deal with it.

Obesity (Excessive Weight)

Excessive Weight

Obesity is a nutritional disease which is defined by an excess of body fat. Animals that are over nourished, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency to retain weight are the most at risk for becoming obese. Obesity can result in serious adverse health effects, such as reducing the lifespan, even if your pet is only moderately obese. Multiple areas of the body are affected by excess body fat, including the bones and joints, the digestive organs, and the organs responsible for breathing capacity.

Obesity is common in pets of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle-aged animals, and generally in those that are between the ages of 5 and 10. Neutered and indoor pets also tend to have a higher risk of becoming obese.

Symptoms

• Weight gain
• Excess body fat
• The inability (or unwillingness) to exercise
• An above-ideal score in a body condition assessment

Causes

There are several causes of obesity. It is mostly commonly caused by an imbalance between the energy intake and its usage ie eating more than the animal can possibly burn off during exercise. Obesity also becomes more common in old age because of the normal decrease in a pet’s ability to exercise. Unhealthy eating habits, such as high-calorie foods, an alternating diet, and frequent treats can also bring on this condition.

Other common causes include:
• Neutering
• Underactive Thyroid

Diagnosis

Obesity is diagnosed primarily by measuring the animal’s body weight or by scoring its body condition, which involves assessing its body composition. Your veterinarian will do this by examining your pet, palpating its ribs, lumbar area, tail, and head. The results are then compared to the breed standard.

If a pet is obese, it will have an excess body weight of approximately 10 to 15 percent. In the nine-point scoring system, animals which have a body condition score greater than seven are considered to be obese.

Obesity can increase the risk of many diseases including:

1. Arthritis
2. Diabetes
3. Cancer
4. Heart Disease

We run free weight clinics so please get your pet booked in if you think they may be over-weight.