Definitely YES is the answer to the question – “Is your pet in more pain if it carries extra fat.”
Just 25 years ago; we thought that fat was just a white blob of storage of energy that insulates us and is there in times of famine. We realise now how very far from fact that is. We now know that fat cells are a very important endocrine organ in the body which means that they secrete hormones – in particular adipokines. There are a number of different adipokines in the body and they are all linked to inflammation!
All the ‘itis’ conditions are what we want to avoid in our pet’s bodies – hepatitis, pancreatitis, cystitis, nephritis……but each and every one of these conditions is very painful and is a form of inflammation, including obesity!
With an increase in fat cells and subsequent adipokines when your pet carries extra weight, there is more pain not just from the structural pain of the dog’s weight on their joints, but equally from the fat itself releasing inflammatory cells.
This inflammation is documented in overweight humans who suffer pain in the joints in their hands when they suffer from polyarthritis. There is no weight bearing in their hands, so it is known that the adipokines play a very important role in pain. 1. *Yussuf, Erlangga
It has been shown that elderly overweight dogs who suffer with arthritis will show a 6% improvement in mobility and pain just with a small amount of weight loss – definitely worth doing in your devoted old pet that is carrying too much weight.
The fatter your pet, the more pain it will be in.
Then the other factors to consider include:
- Pancreatitis is caused by an inflammation of the gland in the body that is there to provide enzymes to digest food. If your pet is given a very fatty diet and ends up with pancreatitis, it is one of the most painful conditions they can get as those same enzymes leak out and begin to digest the organs around the gland!
- Diabetes in pets requires regular blood tests to ensure that your pet’s levels of glucose in the blood are stable. This involves behind the scenes blood collections at your vet practice where it is frightening for your little pet to have their arm shaved and blood taken from their vein without you there.
- An inability to breath properly is not painful, but it is very stressful on a pet who may already suffer from breathing conditions such as bronchitis or heart failure or just have an excessively long soft palate such as with our pugs and frenchies. To have extra fat around their neck and around their vital organs compounds the inability to breath properly and weight loss immediately results in a better quality of life.
- One of the biggest worries we have as both vets and pet owners of our own slightly chubby pets; is that one of their cruciate ligaments in their back knee joints may rupture. This happens just so easily in overweight pets who sleep on your bed or jump on the sofa regularly. One jump and a wrong twist if they carry that extra weight, and the ligament may rupture. It is VERY painful for your pet and may involve surgery – although some dogs are so overweight that surgery is postponed for fear of the other ligament rupturing in the other knee if they are unable to use their operated leg!
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We have all been there with our own overweight pets as we love them as much as you love your own
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