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Bowman Animal Hospital

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Bowman Animal Hospital Kicks Off The First Ever Canine and Feline “Biggest Loser” Contest to Address the Growing Obesity Epidemic in Cats and Dogs

Raleigh, NC, February 05, 2008 --( For most of us, strained waistbands and belts are signs we’ve put on too much weight. But how do we know whether our full-figured feline and pudgy pooch have crossed the line from healthy to hefty? And does it matter?

“A pet’s weight matters a lot,” says Dr. Nannette of Bowman Animal Hospital. “A 1or 2-pound weight gain in a 10-pound cat may not sound like much in ‘people pounds,’ but it equates to a 150-pound human gaining approximately 15 to 30 pounds. Currently 25% of cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight, and the numbers are rising rapidly. Just as with humans, too much body fat can increase a dog’s or cat’s risk of developing serious health problems including heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis & ligament damage, and diabetes.”

“In fact,” adds Dr. Goodwin, “experts are continuing to learn just how big a difference proper feeding and keeping dogs at ideal body condition can make over a pet’s lifetime. A ground breaking 14-year study by Purina researchers showed that dogs fed to a lean or ideal body condition throughout their lives had a median life span of 1.8 years longer – and were considerably healthier – than their littermates. Owners need to understand that while they may be showing their love when they give their pet that extra treat, they may actually be feeding their pet to death.”

Although Bowman Animal Hospital has always placed a great deal of emphasis on exercise and nutrition but decided that it was time to address pet obesity on a larger scale. “No one likes to talk about being overweight, and many clients take it very personally if you suggest that their cat or dog may need to slim down,” says Jessica Lee, Hospital Administrator of Bowman Animal Hospital. “In order to make it work we chose to team up with Purina Veterinary Diets. Together we came up with a step-by-step program including regular weigh-ins and adjustments, moral support, education, and of course, and lots of fun incentives along the way.”

To give dog and cat owners an objective appraisal of their pet’s body condition, the veterinarians and staff use a nine-point scale, which has become the industry standard. “We observe and feel the pet’s ribs, waist, and abdomen; compare the patient’s physique with those on an illustrated Body Condition System (BCS); and assign the appropriate body condition score,” explains Dr. Goodwin. “A BCS of 4 to 5 is ideal for dogs and a BCS score of 5 is ideal for cats. Pets scoring 6 or 7 are considered overweight and those scoring 8 or 9 are considered at higher risk for obesity-related health conditions.”

The initial “Biggest Loser Contest” starts February 1st, and will end September 15th. The dog and cat that have lost the highest percentage of weight during this time will earn a free year of food. “This is just the beginning,” says Jessica Lee, “our doctors and staff already integrate body condition scoring and nutritional recommendations into every pet examination. We are committed to opening the dialogue with our clients and teaching them about pet obesity and lifestyle changes before the damage is done.”

“Our staff and doctors are really excited about this,” says Ms. Lee. “ The best part is taking ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos. It is such a great feeling to see an animal come in looking and acting younger as they start to lose the pounds, and we get to lavish them with congratulations!”

Everyone is welcome to bring their pet for a complimentary ‘weigh-in’ at Bowman Animal Hospital. The staff is highly trained to provide information and help interested owners see where their pet falls on the illustrated 9-Point Body Condition System. “Our goal is to raise the level of awareness and to support pet owners that want to learn more. We all love our pets,” Dr. Goodwin says. “Helping them slim down so they can enjoy long, healthy lives is one sure way to show it.”

Contact Information
Bowman Animal Hospital
Jessica Lee

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