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Tag: fat

Obie 4 and Obie after: Dachshund down to 35 pounds after excess skin removed

Like that light at the end of the tunnel, there’s now some light underneath Obie, the overfed dachshund.

And that’s even more the case after surgery yesterday to remove 2-1/2 pounds of loose skin from the dog who once tipped the scales at 77 pounds.

Obie was recovering at the Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin, in Oregon, after surgery to remove the excess skin that remained after he lost 40 pounds in 8 months.

Obie’s caretaker, Nora Vanatta, says the surgery went well and that she hopes to bring him home today, according to KGW in Portland.

Obie weighed 77 pounds when he was given up by his former owners in Puyallup, Washington, last year and assigned to a foster home by a rescue organization.

Oregon Dachshund Rescue placed Obie — that’s him to the left in his beefier days — in Vanatta’s care. But after his girth garnered national attention the organization asked for the dog back, claiming Vanatta — by publicizing his crash diet and seeking contributions to his care — was exploiting him.

When Vanatta refused to turn him over, they filed a lawsuit, accusing her of using the “sensationalistic promotional value of his unusual obesity” and “earning money off of his public exhibition on national and regional television shows,” while not taking care of his condition.

A settlement in the case was reached in January, allowing Vanatta to keep the dog.

Before the Tuesday surgery, Obie was down to 37 pounds and four ounces. 

“We haven’t weighed him since the surgery, but he lost 2 1/2 pounds of skin” Vanatta said. “So he should be around 35 pounds now. I figure his healthy weight is between 28 and 30 pounds.”

For now, he’s resting comfortably at the veterinary clinic (left), from which he’s expected to be released today — a few pounds lighter and his skin much tigher.

Vets will evaluate Obie to determine if more surgery is needed after he loses the last five pounds, a goal Vanatta hopes will be achieved late this summer.

Obie’s fight with obesity can be followed on the Facebook page Vanatta created on his behalf.

(Photos: KGW)

New book has a quibble with kibble

Richard Patton thinks we’re killing our dogs — not with kindness, but with carbohydrates.

Dogs, as good as they are at adapting to most things, are poorly adapted to cope with the constant diet of soluble carbohydrates — i.e. kibble — that many pet owners provide, he maintains in his new book.

In “Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack: The Paradox of Pet Nutrition,” Patton points out that pet owners, believing they are providing the best nutrition, are robbing their pets of health and longevity by failing to restrict their animals’ intake of carbohydrates.

Fat, he believes, is not the evil monster we once thought it to be — either for animals or humans — and most animals will benefit from a diet more in line with what their predecessors ate when they lived in the wild.

For millions of years, dogs and their predecessors managed to survive and adapt to a life without carbohydrates.  Then, 10,000 or so years ago, once domesticated, man took over their feeding. And man’s choice for dogs — a diet heavy on grains –was based in part on ease, cost, misunderstanding and misinformation.

“Not only is the modern day dry diet higher in soluble carbohydrate than anything animals ever ate throughout evolution, but also the animal’s biological machinery was perfected to eek out a survival in a world of near constant lack of soluble carbohydrate. This exquisite, designer perfect biological machinery is at a loss to deal very effectively with constant, excess soluble carbohydrate.”

In other words, by feeding our animals a steady diet of kibble, we’re flying in the face of billions of years of evolution. It’s akin, he writes, to taking an animal who spent four billion years evolving to be able to see in the darkness and thrusting him into the sunlight.

Patton’s book is an academic work — this isn’t dog food for dummies — but it’s one that covers all the bases when it comes to nutrition, including how diet can affect a pet’s behavior.

For anyone interested or concerned about animal nutrition, it’s worth digesting.

Bikinied “Lettuce Ladies” to dog Baltimore

PETA thinks Baltimore residents are too fat, and that a vegetarian diet could help them achieve a much-needed slimming down.

To that end, it is sending women clad in lettuce bikinis to the city to hand out veggie hot dogs.

Makes perfect sense.

Baltimore was recently ranked the eighth fattest city in the country, so PETA’s “Lettuce Ladies” are hitting the road to show Baltimore (and other fat cities, as well)  how healthy, compassionate, and delicious it is to be vegan.

The free veggie dogs will be handed out at noon this coming Friday at City Hall, 100 Holliday St.

PETA says meat consumption has been directly linked to obesity, and that adult vegans are, on average, 10 to 20 pounds lighter than adult meat-eaters. On top of that, PETA says, foregoing meat also helps fight heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.

Will stem cells bring Bentley’s legs back?

Bentley, a 2-year-old Great Pyrenees with a torn ligament and an arthritic joint in his back leg, was reinjected with his own stem cells this week — a process veterinarians hope will have him running, or at least walking comfortably again, in a matter of weeks.

The procedure – performed on the 105-pound dog at the American Animal Hospital in Randolph, New Jersey — was described as the first one-day, animal stem cell transplant procedure in New Jersey history.

Vets hope the treatment will stimulate cell regeneration in Bentley, reduce inflammation and ease his pain.

“I just want to give Bentley some relief, just so I can walk him again. I’m not expecting him to be a marathon runner,” owner Erin McGuire, who drove her dog 80 miles from Brielle for the treatment, told the Newark Star-Ledger.

The procedure was overseen by Michael Hutchinson, a veterinarian from the Pittsburgh area who has performed similar ones on about 100 dogs, cats and even horses since 2008.

Although the procedure is approved only for animal ailments such as hip dysplasia, arthritis and ligament injuries, it is being looked at — and used in some other countries — to solve human health problems as well.

“The basic procedure involves taking fat from the dog, extracting stem cells and injecting those stem cells back into the dog,” said Brian T. Voynick, owner and director of the Randolph veterinary hospital.

Voynick was the first veterinarian in New Jersey to use stem cell treatment with animals three years ago — a prolonged, multi-day procedure at the time.

After he removed 60 grams of fat from the dog, he’d have to send it to California to be processed, and wait for the stem cells to be shipped back. Bentley’s treatment, in which the stem cells were separated from the fat on site, took less than four hours at Voynick’s hospital Wednesday.

Voynick and Hutchinson removed 16 grams of fat from under the dog’s left shoulder, mixed it with platelets extracted from the dog’s blood and enzymes, incubated the serum, spun it in a centrifuge and finally exposed it to wavelengths of LED lighting under a process patented by an Australian-based company called MediVet.

Bentley was given a good prognosis Wednesday, but only time will tell if the procedure was successful, the Star-Ledger reported.

Chow Hounds: Why our dogs are fatter

louie2If your dog is fat — and statistics indicate nearly half are — you might want to check Dr. Ernie Ward’s  recent online chat, sponsored by the Washington Post.

About 45 percent of all adult dogs and 58 percent of cats are overweight.  That’s 34 million fat dogs and 54 million fat cats — all at risk for diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer and more.

Ward recently published a book on the pet obesity epidemic, “Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives” (2010 HCI Publishing).

Here are a few excerpts from his online chat:  

“No one is getting enough physical activity in this country. This is why owning a dog is a great incentive for exercise. All dogs need at least 20-30 minutes of aerobic intensity walking per day. Larger breeds often need much more… 

“Neutering and spaying reduces a dog or cat’s metabolic rate by  25-35%. This is why you can not feed according to pet food labels. These guidelines are made for intact adult pets. In my book, I go into considerable detail on how to calculate the exact number of calories your pet needs each day based on its lifestyle…

“Most dogs eat until the are full and tend not to overeat. The reasons that dogs overeat are largely due to the changes in dog food formulation, hence the term ‘Kibble Crack’ I use in Chow Hounds. I go into great detail on how pet food companies have added sugar and fat to trick a dog’s normal appetite…”

Then there was this exchange, and I can only hope both were joking:

Q. ”I like to carry my little dog around in my purse. Is there anything I could get for the dog to exercise while in the purse? You know, like a wheel for him to run in?”

 A. “I recently patented the ‘pocket treadmill.’ I would be glad to sell you a prototype.”

Ward directs those wanting to learn more to the Association for Pet Obesity’s website, to visit his own website, or, of course, to read his book.

Stem cell treatments helping dogs, and more

stem-cell4That glob to your left is a stem cell — the type that’s been used to treat more than 1,700 arthritic dogs in the U.S.

“Adult” stem cells and are found throughout the body — in dogs and humans — and can be harvested from fat tissue, expanded and then injected into the area of injury or disease.

Robert Harman, a veterinarian, stem cell specialist and biotechnology entrepreneur who is CEO for the California company Vet-Stem, discussed the treatment in a recent article for the San Diego News Network.

In the U.S., he says, more than 1,700 dogs and 3,600 horses have been treated for tendon, ligament and joint problems over the last six years with their own stem cells, harvested from fat.  Published results in dogs and horses indicate that more 70 percent of have significantly benefitted. Only a few veterinarians have been authorized to offer the service

The treatment has not been approved for use in the U.S. on humans yet, but at least one American has undergone it, through a company in Korea that harvested his fat tissue, isolated its stem cells, then injected them into him in  China. It’s the same company — one of two — that is offering dog cloning. The patient, John Cullison, a California artist, was visiting RNL Bio in Seoul the same time I was there to research my book on pet cloning.

RNL Bio posted this video of him discussing the treatment on YouTube:

(Photo courtesy of Vet-Stem Inc.)

Sneaky kids let their dogs do the walking

About 200 children in east London were given pedometers to automatically count how many steps they walked and ran each day as part of a research study.

But when the researchers at Mile End Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine reviewed the results, they couldn’t figure out why some of the fat kids could be so fat, based on the amount of exercise the pedometers showed they were getting.

Turns out the little scamps were attaching the devices to their dogs’ collars.

The pilot study in Whitechapel required 11 and 12-year-olds to clip a pedometer to their waists, with researchers at the centre collecting the readings by satellite, according to a BBC report.

“But after a week we found there were some kids who were extremely active but still obese,” said Professor Nicola Maffulli.

It was “not unheard of” for participants in previous studies to manipulate the readings of pedometers, he added. Once adjusted to take into account the help from pets, the study indicated that boys in the borough walk or run 12,620 steps a day, below the recommended level of 15,000 steps. Girls were found to take 10,150 steps, falling short of the recommended 12,000 steps.

It indicated that more than a third of 11 and 12-year-olds in the borough of Tower Hamlets are overweight or obese – 11% higher than the national average.

The borough’s dogs, on the other hand, are looking quite fit.

My hero: Fat Georgia dog drops 100 pounds

Meet my new hero — Raleigh, the dog. I’m thinking of taping his picture to my refrigerator.

Raleigh, through diet and exercise — and we all know that, unfortunately, is what it takes — dropped 100 pounds in just over three years.

Raleigh weighed 60 pounds when owners Jane and Jay Whitehead of Oconee County adopted the then one-year-old mixed breed at a Gwinnett County animal shelter about six years ago.

But, as the Athens Banner-Herald points out in a lovely story about Raleigh’s weight battle, he just kept growing – sideways.

By February 2006, Raleigh was a Goodyear blimp on legs, ballooning to 187 pounds.

The Whiteheads tried cutting back on Raleigh’s food, and took him to their vet, who found no disorder. Other than his weight, he was perfectly healthy.

He couldn’t walk more than a few steps at a time before he flopped over on his side, and it would take three people to get him up again, his owners said.

“It just kind of equates to people you see on TV that are so obese they can’t get out of bed. That’s what he was,” said Jane Whitehead, the chief financial officer for a Gwinnett County company. “You just don’t know what to do. He had no quality of life, but nothing seemed to help.”

In late 2005, the Whiteheads’ vet referred them to Sherry Sanderson, a professor in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine’s department of physiology and pharmacology who was beginning a study on a new weight-loss drug for dogs.”

Raleigh turned out to be ineligible for the study, but Sanderson remained interested in his case, and suggested the Whiteheads began feeding Raleigh a specially formulated dog food that is low in calories but has the nutrients dog need. It was was provided free by the Nestle Purina PetCare Co., which also helped pay for the rest of Raleigh’s therapy.

That was the other problem. Raleigh was too far gone for normal dog exercise, but Sanderson asked one of her students to set up three-times-a week sessions on an underwater treadmill in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Small Animal Hospital. The treadmill, most often used to rehabilitate dogs after surgery, allows dogs to move their legs without putting much weight on their joints.

The treadmill and new diet worked for Raleigh, who began shedding pounds. In a few weeks, he was able to walk short distances on his own.

By January 2007, Raleigh had slimmed down to 116 pounds, and by last April, he was down to 89. His owners are aiming for a goal weight of 70 to 80 pounds.

“After seeing what he did, I don’t think there’s any case that’s truly hopeless,” Sanderson said. “I hope he can be a motivator for others.”

New therapy treats dogs with their stem cells

A German shepherd named Schultz has been having his own fat cells removed, shipped to San Diego to have the stem cells extracted, then having those injected back into his hips to treat dysplasia.

The experimental therapy, being tested by several veterinarians in western Pennsylvania, is promising, but expensive: Depending on how many joints need injections, the cost ranges from $2,400 to $3,000.

But, as veterinarian Mike Hutchinson, owner of Animal General, points out in a recent Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article, that’s still less than half the cost of hip replacement surgery.

“Basically, we make an incision behind the dog’s shoulder and take out a couple teaspoons of fat,” Hutchinson said  “We pack it up and ship it to Vet-Stem, they separate out the stem cells, send them back to us and we inject the cells back into the dog, where he needs them.”

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