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Canine Obesity V Lean Muscle
Let us talk Canine Obesity

Plenty of both about so lets talks FACTS SCIENCE !
Obesity may be associated with certain endocrine diseases, such as diabetes mellitus (Krook et al., 1960; Mattheeuws et al., 1984a; Wolfscheimer, 1990; Ford et al., 1993; Hoenig, 2002) and hypothyroidism (Kaelin et al., 1986; Forbes & White, 1987; Roche et al., 1991; Ford et al., 1993; Panciera, 1994, 2001; Dixon et al., 1999). According to the authors, at least 40% of bitches suffering from these conditions are obese. Obesity may also be secondary to hyperadrenocorticism. In a clinical study, five dogs presented fat deposits typical of obesity and different from a pendulous abdomen (Spearman & Little, 1978).
Dachshund. Many small dogs spend the majority of their time in the home. In Asia, 65% of small dogs have a 100% indoor lifestyle: these dogs do not go outside and use a litter tray in the same way as a cat does. ( Doxicat/Hermeline).Female Auvergne Pointing Dog. Hypothyroidism is often associated with obesity. Among the sociological factors, a study conducted in Germany (Kienzle et al., 1998) reported that the relationship between the human and the obese dog is characterized by excessive anthropomorphical behavior. For example, owners of obese animals talk to their dog more, allow their dog to lie on their bed, are not concerned about zoonoses and consider exercise, work and the protector function of their dog to be of minor importance. So it is unsurprising that obese animals are given meals or treats more often than animals of normal body weight. This study confirms that the owners are often obese (54% versus 28% of owners of dogs of normal weight), as stated above (Mason, 1970; Kronfeld, 1988) and fairly inactive. The owners of obese animals translate every appeal by the animal as being an appeal for food. These owners clearly have little concern for balancing the diet. Some of these aspects are very familiar to practitioners (Kienzle et al., 1998).Contrary to some preconceived ideas, dividing the daily diet into several meals does not lead to an increase in the frequency of obesity. In epidemiological studies obese dogs are generally fed once a day (Kienzle et al., 1998; Robertson, 2003). It is clearly important not to confuse the division of the appropriate daily ration with the multiplication of the additional treats.The owners of obese dogs may also interpret bulimia as a sign of good health (Kronfeld, 1988) and excess weight as a sign of beauty in some breeds. Some owners also make the mistake of using foods as a palliative treatment to prevent unmonitored animals from becoming bored or destroying things. Lastly, for a dog living in a family environment, receiving food from children (as a reward or in a game) can become a bad habit. Multiple pet households may pose problems with respect to individual food consumption. Nevertheless, contrary to a predetermined idea, the frequency of obesity is greater in households with only one dog (Kienzle et al., 1998; Robertson, 2003).
In conclusion, it appears that the energy requirements of dogs are often incorrectly estimated and accordingly, in many situations energy intake can be excessive. It is up to the clinician to determine whether the obesity is primary or secondary so as to establish the subsequent treatment.
Obese dogs -The Reality Of What They May Suffer
Reduction in longevity
Osteoarticular diseases
Intolerance to effort
Cardiorespiratory problems
Diabetes mellitus
Reduced immunity
Hyperlipidemia and dyslipidemia
Mammary tumors
Malassezia dermatitis
Difficulties in using exploratory techniques
Surgical inconveniences
Modifications in the thyroid function
It has been clearly shown that obesity leads to a reduction in the longevity of dogs. Kealy et al. (2002) followed a group of 48 Labradors, half of which received limited quantities of food throughout their life. From the start a group of dogs were fed ad libitum with a growth food and a second group received 75% of the energy intake of the first group. The body weight of all the animals in the ad libitum group as well as the group that received a lower energy intake, increased until age 3 years and 4 months, reaching the average values 35 kg and 27 kg respectively. At this point two dietary modifications were introduced: a food with a lower energy concentration was given to all dogs and the intake of the ad libitum group was restricted (provision of a set quantity of food), while the second group continued to receive 25% less energy.
The modification of the experimental protocol induced a reduction in the body weight of all dogs, which was subsequently stabilized. At 5 years of age, the average difference between the two groups of dogs was 10 kg. At 8 years of age, the body index was 6.8/9 for the dogs eating the most food and 4.5/9 for the control group dogs (1: cachexia; 9 : massively obesity).
At age 12 years the average energy intake of the control group dogs and the dogs receiving 75% of intake were 1745 kcal and 1352 kcal (around 127 kcal/kg and 115 kcal/kg of body weight (BW) 0.75) respectively. The dogs of the second group weighed on average 26% less than those of the control group. The dietary restriction helped prolong longevity to 13 years rather than 11.2 years in the control group. The energy restriction helped slow down the development of chronic diseases and more specifically arthrosis. Furthermore, different metabolic parameters (insulin, glucose, blood lipids) were also favorably influenced in the dogs receiving 25% less energy. The above study is extremely important in terms of its contribution to science: it confirms an undeniable relationship between energy intake and longevity in dogs. It constitutes an argument against ad libitum feeding and provides valuable data showing the consequences of obesity for the development of osteoarticular diseases.
The positive effect of energy restriction on life expectancy has also been observed in humans. Individuals presenting with an average body mass index live longer than overweight individuals (Manson et al., 1987).
Obese animals or animals fed a diet with a high fat content are less resistant to infection than animals fed a balanced diet (Newberne, 1966, 1973; Williams & Newberne, 1971; Fiser et al., 1972).
The correlation between obesity and some cancers (breast, uterus, colon and prostate) is well established in humans (National Institute of Health, 1998). Conversely, the lack of clinical data means such a link cannot be made in dogs with respect to anything but mammary tumors.
The first data were published in 1991. According to Sonnenschein et al., obesity or the consumption of a diet high in fat one year prior to the diagnosis does not increase the risk of mammary cancer in adult bitches, neutered or intact. These results have been contradicted by Perez Alenza et al. (1998, 2000).
On the other hand, the risk in neutered females was reduced in individuals that were slim between 9 and 12 months (Sonnenschein et al., 1991) and increased in females at the age of one year (Perez Alenza, 1998, 2000). On the whole, the authors conclude that the condition of obesity in juvenile animals certainly plays a role in the predisposition to mammary tumors in adulthood.
A retrospective study has not confirmed these results (Philibert et al., 2003). First of all, it was not possible to analyze the effect of early onset obesity on the development of mammary tumors. Neither did the authors report any correlation between obesity and the development of tumors, or between obesity and the period of survival (10 months for obese bitches versus 14 months for others).
For Those That Understand VERY LITTLE Regarding Energy Uptake IN The Canine
Modifications of reserves = energy intake - energy expenditure
A positive energy balance is the consequence of energy intake exceeding expenditure, and conversely, the balance is negative when expenditure exceeds intake. In normal conditions the energy balance oscillates meal after meal, day after day, week after week, without changing body weight and energy reserves in the long term. Many physiological mechanisms play a role in adapting intake to expenditure and expenditure to intake so as to maintain a stable body weight in the long term. If the energy balance is positive, expenditure increases (pointless cycles, uncoupling proteins, etc) and conversely, when the balance is negative, the body tends to reduce its expenditure (which contributes to the resistance to weight loss).
Energy Intake
The total energy intake provides all the food ingested, digested and metabolized by the body. Table 7 shows the energy intake via different nutrients that provide energy. The coefficients used are derived from Atwater's and involve some risk of error, since they take account of only average digestibility. Fat provide more energy per unit of weight than digestible carbohydrate or protein. In carnivores, dietary fiber is not very digestible and energy contribution is negligible. It should however be noted that an energy value of 1 - 2 kcal/g is attributed to digestible fiber in humans. In dogs, some soluble fiber is completely digested (Diez et al., 1998) and acetate can contribute to 8% energy metabolism in the dog (Pouteau et al., 1998).Energy Expenditure
The second element in the equation is energy expenditure, which is split into three parts:
Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
Postprandial thermogenesis (production of heat subsequent to the meal)
Physical activity
The most commonly used equation to calculate the theoretical maintenance energy requirement is:

132 kcal per kg of metabolic weight (MW)*
* Where MW = (body weight) 0.73
This exponent is often rounded up to 0.75 to facilitate calculations, but the original value is 0.73.
In sedentary human adults, basal metabolic rate, postprandial thermogenesis and physical activity represent 60%, 10% and 30% of energy expenditure respectively (WHO, 1997). The contribution of each of these factors varies significantly however, depending on the regularity and intensity of the physical activity, which is the key variable in expenditure. Basal metabolic rate appears, on the other hand, to be a stable individual factor, that has a major impact on the amount of muscle mass of the organism (90 - 95% of energy expenditure of basal metabolism versus 5 - 10% for fat mass).
In dogs, the basal metabolic rate also represents 55 - 70% of the total expenditure (NRC, 2006), but differences have been observed between breeds. By way of example, the Labrador has a lower basal metabolism rate than the Great Dane or the Spaniel. The basal metabolism rate declines with age in dogs (Speakman et al., 2003). It is recommended to reduce the energy intake by 10-15% from age 7, while adjusting the diet depending on the physical condition of the individual. On the other hand, a low calorie diet is not always justified for all old dogs.
The necessary balance between intake and expenditure is the crux of the problem in dogs in general and in obese dogs in particular. The difficulties of estimating energy expenditure (requirements) are multiple.
First of all, the great diversity of the canine species: body weight varies between the extremes of 1 kg and over 100 kg. It is also easy to understand the difficulty of estimating the energy requirement of all the dogs with a simple equation. The average equation is 132 kcal/kg BW 0.75 (NRC, 1974). An initial approach proposed was to group breeds on the basis of their weight and size: small, medium, large and giant.
Dogs of comparable weight and size in the same category may present very different energy requirements. The differences may be due to the thickness of the skin, the body composition (lean mass/fat mass ratio) or to the type of selection used (originally a working dog, then selected on beauty criteria and having the function of a companion animal). The body composition is extremely important: the dogs that present a great muscle mass expend more energy and are less susceptible to obesity than fat dogs.
Newfoundland - Great Dane
Breed can have a strong influence on energy requirement, even between two dogs of similar weight in similar environmental conditions. When it comes to theoretical rationing (NRC 1974), it is wise to reduce the Newfoundland's ration by around 10%. The ration of a Great Dane on the other hand must often be increased by 40% to maintain the dog's weight. ( Royal Canin/J.-P. Lenfant - Royal Canin/Renner).
Besides breed, individual factors, both genetic and otherwise, also generate great diversity in energy requirements. In dogs of the same breed of comparable weight, the males are generally a little less fat than the females and so their expenditure is greater (on the order of 10%) however, this is a controversial point (Kienzle & Rainbird, 1991).
As observed above, neutering will reduce expenditure (to the order of 20 - 30%) (Figure 3). Aging of the animal is an example of a physiological condition that may reduce energy expenditure by reducing the basal metabolic rate. Moreover, body composition changes during aging. The fat mass tends to increase at the expense of the muscle mass.
Energy expenditure associated with physical activity has not been quantified in dogs. From a practical perspective, it is not possible to say how many kilocalories correspond to an hour's walking, hunting or racing.
In their original habitat, wild canids are generally active and in an environment with abundant food it is extremely rare for adult animals to be obese. The biological mechanisms regulating body weight are present throughout the animal kingdom and appear to be fairly efficient in combating underconsumption.
In domesticated animals, the environmental pressure makes the mechanisms likely to manage overconsumption more useful. The hormonal regulators of appetite, food consumption and energy expenditure are becoming more and more well-known, particularly leptin, ghrelin and adiponectin.
Leptin is a cytokine produced and secreted by the fat cells. It acts as an energy balance modulator signal, both centrally (on the hypothalamus) and peripherally (liver, pancreas, etc). Leptin accordingly appears to play a key role in the regulation of food consumption. At the time of its discovery leptin was presented as a miracle treatment for obesity as leptin injections in obese and healthy mice induced significant body weight loss without any apparent side effects. Nevertheless, it has been shown that obese humans and dogs (Ishioka et al., 2002; Gayet et al., 2003a; Jeusette et al., 2003, 2004b) do not suffer from leptin deficiency. On the contrary, in these two species, leptin is produced in proportion to the quantity of fat cells such that the rates of plasma leptin are higher in obese individuals than in healthy individuals. Leptin increases energy expenditure in healthy individuals but in obese individuals the situation is less clear due to a resistance phenomenon.
On the other hand, it appears that insulin and many other mediators also play a role in regulating leptin (Lonnqvist et al., 1999). Clinical studies conducted on humans tend to show that the blood concentration of leptin is dependent on the secretion of insulin, the composition of the food and exercise (Koutsari et al., 2003). From a practical perspective, the main point to remember with respect to obesity is that leptin reduces the appetite. Leptinemia increases in dogs during periods of weight gain (Gayet et al., 2003a, 2004b; Jeusette et al., 2004b).
Ghrelin (GH releasing hormone) has been identified by Kojima et al. (1999). It stimulates the secretion of growth hormone (GH) and increases food ingestion in humans and rodents. We have observed that the plasma concentration of ghrelin is lower in obese dogs than it is in healthy animals (Jeusette et al., 2003, 2004b).
Adiponectin is a cytokine secreted exclusively by the adipose tissue. It affects carbohydrate homeostasis, sensitivity to insulin and probably energy homeostasis. It will act in synergy with leptin (Yamauchi et al., 2001). Its expression is reduced in obese and diabetic mice (Hu et al., 1996). It is also reduced by half in obese dogs compared with healthy dogs (Gayet et al., 2004b).
Additional regulatory factors include TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor). This cytokine was originally identified as a pro-inflammatory molecule that participates in anorexia and cancer cachexia. It has been found in particularly high quantities in the adipose tissue of obese animals and patients. The expression and the concentrations of TNF-α are positively correlated to the degree of obesity and the resistance to insulin (Hotamisligil et al., 1995) as shown in dogs (Gayet et al., 2004a).
Besides the mechanisms mentioned above, the activity of uncoupling proteins (UCP) deserves emphasis. These proteins belong to a family of transporters in the internal membrane of the mitochondria, which uncouple the respiration of ATP synthesis by dispersing the mitochondrial proton gradient. The activity of these proteins varies according to thermoregulation and postprandial thermogenesis. The expression of UCP-1 is greatly reduced in the adipose tissue of obese, insulin-resistant dogs (Leray et al., 2003).
To conclude, it appears that many factors involved in the development of obesity in humans and rodents have also been identified in dogs, whether they are factors limiting appetite or factors increasing expenditure.Energy Intake and Macro-nutrients
For dogs, the calculation of the energy provided by a food is based on its chemical composition. Fats are the nutrients that contain the most energy. The over-consumption of fatty food is accordingly an essential factor in the genesis of obesity. Fat is added to food to both increase palatability and the energy density of the diet.
In terms of metabolizable energy, the protein and carbohydrate intake is equal. When the net energy intake is calculated however, the utilization of proteins for energy is lower (Table 7) (Rubner, 1902). This is one of the reasons, other than the specific effect of some amino acids (lysine, phenylalanine, leucine), for proteins having more of a satisfying effect than carbohydrates. The carnivorous nature of dogs may explain to some degree the resistance of wild canids to obesity.
Digestible carbohydrates clearly provide the same quantity of energy, but they induce different metabolic effects, particularly on the secretion of insulin. This point is addressed in more detail below.
From a theoretical perspective, it can be accepted that the mathematical adaptation of energy intake to energy expenditure suffices to prevent canine obesity. But this will be disregarded in some cases, because it is based on "metabolizable energy". The simple modification of the food's chemical composition - without modifying the total energy intake - can lead to changes to the body composition and the basal metabolic rate. This point has been proven in dogs and is well established in human nutrition (Bouché et al., 2002).
Diagnosis and Evaluation of Obesity
One of the major tasks facing the clinician is to evaluate how obese the animal is as in many cases the optimal body weight is unknown. In human medicine, it is easy to calculate an optimal weight range based on size, using the BMI (body mass index), which is the ratio of height to weight. In human medicine, doctors have a BMI reference table they can consult. These tables are not available for domesticated carnivores. Various attempts at morphometric measurement have proved inconclusive due to the great diversity of canines breeds. Other less standardized tools have accordingly been proposed for veterinary medicine.
Body Weight
The simplest method is the body weight reference. It is easy to weigh a dog, but weight alone is not enough to evaluate obesity. Without an indication of the dog's ideal weight this data is of little use. While it is easy to use breed standards as a reference for purebred dogs, this method is not completely satisfactory, because the animal's body weight can vary quite significantly depending on its stature (Table 8).
When visiting the veterinarian it is important that the dog is weighed and its medical file is updated accordingly. The ideal weight must be identified or estimated to ascertain an obese animal's diet. This is the most important factor in formulating a diet that will enable the dog to lose weight.
Morphometric Measures
The combination of data on stature and on body weight introduces the concept of morphometric techniques to evaluate body composition. Morphometry measures the outer form, evaluates certain body regions and how their dimensions change and shows their relationship to modifications in body composition. The morphometric techniques used on dogs are body condition scoring and techniques that combine diverse body parameter measurements (length and circumference of various parts of the body
For anyone that is unqualified to openly state 
They don't like thin dogs without knowing the dog its lineage or its diet or exercise when faced with a barage of obese dogs in their own home and in a show arena could be professional suicide if they were qualified to score a dogs condition at all.....


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