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21st Jan 2021

John in lockdown (inst. 20)

by John Burns BVMS MRCVS

Obesity 

Last week (11TH) was National Obesity Week, not that you would have noticed as there was almost nothing in the media as far as I could see. This was about human obesity, not pets; Pet Awareness Obesity day was in October. That is a worthy undertaking but obesity is a year round concern.
PDSA Animal Wellbeing report (PAW) 2020 reported that obesity was one of the main concerns reported by the veterinary profession, the others being exaggerated conformation (i.e.deformity., thank you Kennel Club. Ed) in pedigree dogs, pet behaviour and concerns that pet owners did not realise the cost of keeping a pet.

Sticking with obesity, over 50% of pets are overweight or obese. Could this be just one more example of the humanisation of pets? Over 60% of the human population is overweight or obese.
Some months ago, I read an article in the veterinary press in which academics suggested that pet obesity could be genetically determined. I wrote to say that in my experience, excessive weight could be controlled by correct dietary management. Suggesting that the DNA is responsible for being overweight is a diversion. The author of the original article rebuked me, saying that owner compliance was a major obstacle to obesity management. Don’t I know it!

In my opinion and experience, many health problems can be managed by the correct diet and lifestyle. (Stop me if you’ve heard this before.) That applies to ailments which have a hereditary basis. Think of a seedling. It can only grow and develop if the right conditions are present. Likewise the seed of disease. A correct diet can help prevent the appearance of hereditary disease. Having the right type of food is key, but avoiding excess feeding is just as important. That applies to many ailments, in addition to excess weight. Many pet owners and their pets fail to see the benefits of Burns because they overfeed.

Vomiting and Reflux

I’ve just heard from Betsi, a lady who lives in London but comes from Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire. She recently started feeding her Boston Terrier on Burns. Suddenly, the problems with vomiting have disappeared. Funny that. She says that this seems to be a common problem on her Boston Terrier Forum. It’s sad that there are probably millions of pets with health problems which could be corrected just by a change of diet. (Coincidentally, a recent article in the Veterinary Record praised breed specific forums as a way of exchanging tips, advice and extending friendships.)

Amazon

Just saw an advert for Amazon in which they parade their green credentials. They are switching to electric vans and planning to be carbon neutral by 2040. This is green-washing; parading environmental efforts to enhance the company’s reputation. A recent Amazon advert focused on employees saying what a wonderful company it was to work for. Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and the world’s richest or second richest man recently set up his very own charitable foundation. If Amazon wants to impress as an ethical company why not just pay their taxes and treat their employees humanely?

by John Burns BVMS MRCVS
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