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Overweight and obese pets need our attention – with growing urgency.

Dr Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) is quoted as saying “obesity is the number one health problem pets face”. 

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association surveyed vets at London Vet Show in 2018. Their results confirmed 51% of dogs, 44% of cats, and 29% of small mammals were overweight or obese. 

Many publications in recent times suggest the problem has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic. With high percentages of owners stating their overweight pets became so during lockdown times. 

Obesity has been on the veterinary radar for a while. With the pressures of practice since March 2020, some of our efforts have been de-prioritised.  Free-of-charge weight clinic appointments with RVNs are a valuable service for patients who needed to lose pounds. The supervision seems to help owners stick to new diet rules and exercise plans more diligently. But practice pressures mean, for many clinics, there just hasn’t been the time of late.

Use educational videos to help educate clients about sensitive issues

We all know the risks of obesity, but perhaps we don’t communicate them frankly to owners. A reduced lifespan is surely no owner’s wish for their beloved companion. Do they really believe that’s what they’re creating when they cook up the extra portion of roast? 

With some of our patients’ most common and welfare-affecting diseases being linked to body condition. We need to make communicating the risks a priority. 

With increasing pet numbers, and demand on time from urgent and emergency work, pet obesity has been shelved.

I know I am guilty of mentioning bodyweight to owners. Giving a little immediate advice, and recommending revisits for weight checks. I’m also guilty of never following up on this. 

Shyness and taboo has been reduced when mentioning pet’s bodyweight as awareness has increased. There is certainly more to be done. 

Use our ‘Weight Management’ category to help educate owners about the worrying issue of pet obesity.

The videos in our ‘Weight Management’ category will help you communicate – in a passive way, through the waiting room TV. A number of the videos can also be found in our ‘Social Media’ category and can be downloaded. These videos are ideal to embed in your website or social media channels.

As a Vet Channel Subscriber all you need to do is login to www.vetchannel-media.co.uk . Preview the videos and add them to your playlist.

If your practice is not using The Vet Channel please contact us. We can explain how the service will transform your TV into an education and selling tool. Click to contact

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