Huffington Post - The American waistline isn't the only thing that's a growing problem. Our pets are packing it on as well — studies suggest that 60 percent of dogs and cats are obese or overweight.
To address this weighty problem, the nation's first obesity clinic geared especially for animals has opened its door.
Created by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, The Tufts' Veterinary Obesity Clinic will tap the strengths of the Cummings School's nutrition service, a 15-year-old clinical, teaching and research service located at Foster Hospital for Small Animals — one of the nation's busiest teaching hospitals.
Obesity can be a complicated topic for pet owners, the Cummings School says. Although dogs and cats are not prone to coronary artery disease — a common side effect of human obesity — being overweight can lead to complications such as diabetes, orthopedic problems and respiratory complications, as well as reduced quality of life and life expectancy.
The clinic, which aims to see more than 600 clients per year by 2015, will focus on three areas: providing effective weight-loss programs for pets deemed overweight or obese, especially hard-to-manage cases and pets with multiple medical conditions; educating veterinary professionals and the public on how to prevent, identify and combat pet obesity; and conducting state-of-the art clinical research regarding optimal methods for pet obesity treatment and prevention.
The clinic will have three board-certified clinical nutritionists on staff under the supervision of Deborah E. Linder, a graduate of the Cummings School’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and its two-year residency in clinical nutrition.
"By employing sound, research-proven methods, Tufts’ Veterinary Obesity Clinic will help owners achieve safe and effective weight loss for their pets," said Linder.
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Written by Ned Smith