SVH Wishes You and Your Family a Joyous New Year!
January is Feline Weight Loss Month
Weight loss is tough for anyone – two- or four-legged! However, losing weight and getting in shape can add not only years to your cat’s life; it can also make those extra years more enjoyable. Helping your furry feline to shed a few pounds may be easier than you think. It simply requires – a commitment to weight loss and fitness, attention to details and the assistance of your veterinary healthcare team.
Why should my cat lose weight?
As little as two pounds above the ideal body weight can put your cat at risk for developing some serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, when a cat is overweight or obese it no longer is a question of “if” your cat will develop a condition secondary to the excess weight but “how soon and how serious!” Some of the common disorders associated with excess weight include:
- Type 2 diabetes – an obese cat is three times more likely to develop this serious disease as a cat of normal weight
- Heart disease
- Osteoarthritis (arthritis)
- Increased frequency of joint injuries
- High blood pressure
- Some forms of cancer – especially intra-abdominal cancers
Overweight and obese cats usually have shorter lives than their fitter, normal weight counterparts do. Heavy cats tend to physically interact less with their families and are less energetic and playful. Because they tend to lie around more, it is easier to overlook early signs of illness, since we may attribute their lethargy to their “normal laziness.” We are just now learning how serious and threatening a few extra pounds can be for both humans and our cuddly companions.
How should I begin a weight loss program for my cat?
Theoretically, weight loss seems simple enough: fewer calories in plus more calories out equals weight loss. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. You should never put an obese cat on a diet without veterinary supervision.
“…if they do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis.”
The cat’s physiology is different than humans or dogs and if they do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis (also called fatty liver syndrome). Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your cat, and will likely recommend some diagnostic testing to ensure that there are no underlying diseases or obstacles to weight loss for your cat.
How much should I feed my cat to promote weight loss?
In order to answer this question, your veterinarian will examine your cat to determine its ideal body weight, based on its body size and build. Formulas and charts have been developed to assist your veterinarian in determining this weight, as well as the number of calories required to achieve it safely. In general, the average domestic cat should weigh approximately 8-10 pounds (3.6-4.4 kg). Based on your cat’s degree of obesity, your veterinarian may recommend an initial target weight that is higher than the ideal weight. For example, if your cat is 18 pounds (8.2 kg), you can calculate its ideal weight to be 10 to 12 pounds (4.4-5.5 kg), but a more realistic initial goal may be 15 pounds (6.8 kg). After the cat loses this weight, a re-evaluation will be made to determine whether further weight loss is needed. The formula for weight loss in cats is based on the resting energy requirement (calorie requirement for a cat that is not performing any physical activity).
The amount of food that is necessary to provide this number of calories will depend on the calorie content of the food. For reducing formulas available through your veterinarian, this information will be on the label, and a member of your veterinary team help you determine the appropriate amount to feed. If you choose to use an alternate source of food that does not have this information on the label, you will need to contact the manufacturer to get it.
For many cats, the best way to lose weight is with a canned diet food fed several times per day, rather than leaving food down all of the time. One of the reasons canned diet foods work better is because our finicky felines often prefer wet food to dry. Eating meals rather than nibbling all day long discourages eating out of boredom or just for the sake of eating. It is vital that you count calories and measure the amount fed when entering into a weight reduction program. Feeding too much will result in no weight loss and feeding too little can result in serious health consequences such as hepatic lipidosis.
Our Nutritional Advocates
Kayla RVT – Nutritional Advocate
Ali VT – Nutritional Advocate
For help determining and setting up a weight loss program for your feline, we have 2 techinicians with special interest in nutition that are more than happy to help you obtain those goals. For your complimentary appointment with Kayla or Ali, please call SVH (905) 881-8310 or email our client care representative at: [email protected]
Dental Month is Approaching in February!
If you’re interested in booking your pet in or your doctor has recommended a dental procedure, please call us and it would be our pleasure to set up an appointment for you!
Pet Of The Month
“Fred Fred” ❤ Toben
Amidst the holiday season and new year we would like to nominate one of the nearest and dearest visitors to our hospital. Fred, and his dad Jerry, have been coming to SVH for a long, long, long time. Last month Fred celebrated his 23rd birthday and it is our honour to celebrate him. At 23 years old Fred is one of the oldest cats on record at SVH. He didn’t make it to 23 without some health scares along the way.
Fred was hyperthyroid – for a while he was on medication to control it but then it was decided to go with a more permanent form of control — Radioiodine therapy. This kept Fred’s thyroid levels in check.
Fred has had recurrent bouts of pancreatitis, which he has been successfully treated for on multiple occasions.
Most recently Fred’s kidneys have been giving him a hard time. 23 years old kidneys do not work as well as they used to, this leads to dehydration which can impact all of Fred’s other organs. To combat this chronic dehydration, Fred gets subcutaneous rehydration three times per week. Fred has also developed anemia [a lower than normal amount of red blood cells], which can occur as kidney function wanes. Fred has recently start hormonal injections to try and boost his Red Blood Cell levels to give him some more energy.
So we at SVH would like to celebrate Fred for making it to [and passed] 23, and we hope to be there with him for the remainder of his!!!!