Obesity: like master, like pet

Just like their human masters, a majority of American pets have a weight problem, a study says.

In its fourth yearly study of how fat Americans' four-legged furry friends are, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that 53% of cats and more than 55% of dogs were overweight or obese.

Of 133 adult cats, nearly a third were classified by their veterinarians as overweight and nearly 22% were deemed to be clinically obese, the study found.

And among the 383 canines observed, 35% were found to be overweight and 20.6% were obese.

"We’re seeing a greater percentage of obese pets than ever before," said Dr Ernie Ward, founded of APOP.

In 2007, roughly 19% of cats and a mere 10% of dogs were found in the APOP study to be obese defined for the family pet as having a body weight that is 30% greater than normal.

"This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease," the same illnesses that afflict obese humans, Ward said.

American cats and dogs are doing slightly better, in obesity terms, than their masters and mistresses, around one in three of whom is obese.

(Sapa, February 2011)

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