Friday, April 27, 2007

Pet Obesity

The following letter was written by Bud Stuart, DVM, of Santa Barbara, CA, to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and appeared in their April 15, 2007 edition. Dr. Stuart has graciously allowed us to post the content of his letter here, as he spells out very clearly his thoughts on pet obesity and nutrition. Dr. Stuart is compiling information for a book on pet nutrition which he hopes to publish soon, so be sure to look for it!

"As a pet practitioner for over 40 years who puts nutrition first, articles dealing with any aspect of pet nutrition always catches my attention. Allow me to say that I was rather disturbed by your recent news article on the newly introduced drug for pet weight reduction.

I wasn't bothered by the fact that still another large pharmaceutical firm has come up with yet one more money making medication to treat a clinical sign, not a cause. That's what they do to produce a large profit flow. We all understand that.

What does continue to disturb me is my own profession's continued inability (or is it a choice?) to deal with the major cause of pet obesity in the United States. During almost half a century of pet practice, my patients have been trim and healthy when their owners followed my instructions. The pets maintained a proper weight, had healthier skin and coat, had less urinary tract problems (including stones), and lived into a happy old age.

In my experience, the magic key to this dietary success, which all of your so-called experts can be counted on to consistently ignore as they always have, is to restrict the overuse of dry pet foods. To blame table scraps is to act as a spokesperson for the enormously powerful pet food industry. To be satisfied with merely "reducing 10 to 15 percent of body weight" in obese pets is to fail your patient.

When will the AVMA and all other veterinary organizations take a clear, unbiased look at what high-carbohydrate, grain-based diets do to our pets when fed according to instructions on the bags? My poster pet for obesity control was Jimmy the 47-kg (103-lb) Labrador Retriever that once waddled into my examination room but quickly and easily got down to 29.5 kg (65 lbs) on a properly balanced diet. My clients who view Jimmy's before and after photos were not hard to convince to follow my advice. Why can't I convince my own profession?"

Bud Stuart, DVM
Santa Barbara, Calif

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