Obese dogs at risk of health condition experienced by humans

Oct 31, 2012

Veterinary scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that, like humans, obese dogs can experience metabolic syndrome, a condition that describes multiple health issues that occur in the body at the same time.

The condition occurs when a number of health problems, such as increased and increased cholesterol levels, develop together, with the potential to increase the risk of other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Although canine obesity is known to cause , mild hypertension, and high , it has not, until now, been investigated for links to metabolic syndrome, which is common in obese humans.

In a study involving 35 obese dogs, 20% were found to have metabolic syndrome. Similar to humans with the condition, obese dogs had increased blood insulin, suggested that the pancreas is working harder than normal to control blood glucose. Blood adiponectin, a protein produced by that helps control sugars and fats, was also at lower levels than normal. It is yet to be determined, however, what the exact health impacts of these issues are on dogs, and if they are similar to the diseases that metabolic syndrome can cause in humans.

The team demonstrated, however, that the metabolic abnormalities identified in obese dogs, improved when they successfully lost weight.

Dr Alex German, from the University's Department of Obesity and Endocrinology, said: "It is estimated that one third to a half of the UK dog population is overweight. A previous study that we conducted showed that a dog's quality of life improved with weight loss, resulting in better vitality and reduced emotional distress.

"This new research creates a lot of new questions for us. It suggests that dogs develop metabolic syndrome, similar to humans with obesity-related health problems. We now need to investigate, however, what this may have for dogs. The key point for us is that the problem can be resolved with successful weight loss, and this must be a priority for pet owners with obese dogs."

Explore further: Lowly 'new girl' chimps form stronger female bonds

More information: www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/8/147/abstract

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Our bond with dogs may go back more than 27,000 years

20 hours ago

Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 21. Earlier genome ...

Social structure 'helps birds avoid a collision course'

23 hours ago

The sight of skilful aerial manoeuvring by flocks of Greylag geese to avoid collisions with York's Millennium Bridge intrigued mathematical biologist Dr Jamie Wood. It raised the question of how birds collectively ...

Orchid seductress ropes in unsuspecting males

23 hours ago

A single population of a rare hammer orchid species known as a master of sexual deception appears to have recently evolved to seduce a new and wider-spread species of impressionable male wasps.

Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2015

May 21, 2015

A cartwheeling spider, a bird-like dinosaur and a fish that wriggles around on the sea floor to create a circular nesting site are among the species identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.