Obesity in Dogs and Cats: A Metabolic and Endocrine Disorder
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Obesity is defined as an accumulation of excessive amounts of adipose tissue in the body, and has been called the most common nutritional disease of dogs in Western countries. Most investigators agree that at least 33% of the dogs presented to veterinary clinics are obese, and that the incidence is increasing as human obesity increases in the overall population. Obesity is not just the accumulation of large amounts of adipose tissue, but is associated with important metabolic and hormonal changes in the body, which are the focus of this review. Obesity is associated with a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis, respiratory distress, glucose intolerance and diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dystocia, decreased heat tolerance, some forms of cancer, and increased risk of anesthetic and surgical complications. Prevention and early recognition of obesity, as well as correcting obesity when it is present, are essential to appropriate health care, and increases both the quality and quantity of life for pets.
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