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     Common non-dietary causes of pet obesity-part I  

Of course we all know that if we feed our pets too much, especially if they are not very active, they will become overweight. There are other reasons this can happen that have a medical cause.

One of the most common in dogs (rare if even existant in cats) is low thyroid levels. The medical term is hypothyroid (hypo being low).

The thyroid gland sits in the neck on either side of the windpipe. It is a VERY important gland as it makes the hormone that regulates metabolism and therefore affects all aspects of the body and health.

Signs other than weight gain can be tiredness or lack of energy in general, poor hair coat, allergies, recurrent infections, heat seeking, slow heart rate and weak pulses. Many other signs less often seen can occur as well affecting most any system in the body.

The usual age range is 4 to 10 years of age but that is just a range. Many breeds are predisposed, but it is commonly seen in Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Shetland Shepdogs, Cocker Spaniels, Dachsunds, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Airdales, Irish Setters, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, Old English Sheepdogs, Pomeranians, and Bearded Collies. But, any breed can develop this disease.

The causes are rarely known though genetics often play a part. The diagosis can be difficult as the thyroid gland will slow down any time any disease is affecting the body in an effort to conserve energy for healing.

There are tests to help differentiate real versus sick low thyroid. I won't get into the scientific names and explanation of them here though. If you suspect this problem with your pet, see your veterinarian and get a full work-up done.

There may be a medical reason for your beloved pet's weight gain and even a super low calorie diet and much exercise wouldn't help the pounds come off.

RECOMMENDED ENTERTAINMENT: "Cat on the Scent" by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown. This is a very cute book that tells a mystery story where you get to "hear" the cats' and dog's viewpoint.

PRODUCTS: Check out our products page on the site ( http://www.petnutritioninfo.com/products.html )for vitamins sold exclusively through veterinarians to help support your pets' overall health.

Until next month,

Dr. Jan

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