Koko’s Weight Story by Beverly Riley, RVT

This spring we have seen an increase in our overweight patients, possibly due to our stormy/icy winter but mainly due to too many calories ingested. It can be hard to find the perfect balance of exercise and calories for our pets, so they can stay lean and healthy. I am a huge advocate for healthy weight pets; here is my story that made me this way!

Growing up our family dog, Koko, was overweight. She was free fed kibbles and bits, and marrowbones as treats. She did not get a lot of exercise and loved to eat. She had an enlarged heart and when out on walks she would cough, so she only went on limited short walks. When I became a technician I was educated on the affects the excess weight can have on our pets. I thought that since she was 10 years old and had been fed this way her whole life that we wouldn’t be able to change her habits. One night when she was 13 years old she started screaming and limping on her front left leg. The smallest movements would cause her to scream in pain. My mom and I were up all night with her, and first thing in the morning I brought her into North Hill Animal Hospital thinking the worst; that it might be the end for her. Dr. Kerr examined her, she was given pain medication and then radiographs were taken. She had a slipped disc in her neck. Dr. Kerr recommended that she goes to see the Chiropractor and told me she needs to lose weight for her mobility. I had a discussion with my family, we all got on board and decided she was going to go on a diet. We had a diet plan made for her and followed it strictly, including no more treats.

She began her weight loss Journey February 2009 weighing 8.9 kg, and lost weight steadily over the next year and by February 2010 she had reached her goal weight of 6.6 kg. Getting her to healthy weight helped her mobility and increased her life. She lived until she was 16 years old. If she did not lose all that weight she would not have been able to walk and would have had to be humanely euthanized long before she turned 16. She was going to see the Chiropractor on a regular basis and as the weight came off she didn’t have to go as often. Once she reached her goal weight she could stop all together. After losing all her excess weight she also could go on longer walks without coughing, a large part of her enlarged heart was due to fat around her heart.

Having a healthy weight pet is now a top priority of mine, and I have learned that it is never too late to get the weight off of our pets. It is always better for them to lose weight before we see the negative effects of excess weight, learn from my mistake!!