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Vet Res Commun. 2010 Mar;34(3):241-53. doi: 10.1007/s11259-010-9348-7. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

The effect of weight loss on lameness in obese dogs with osteoarthritis.

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Small Animal Hospital, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden Road, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.


This paper describes the effect of weight loss on lameness in obese dogs with osteoarthritis (OA). Fourteen obese client-owned dogs with clinical and radiographic signs of OA participated in an open prospective clinical trial. After a screening visit and a visit for collection of baseline data, the dogs were fed a restricted-calorie diet over a study period of 16 weeks that incorporated six follow-up visits. At each visit, body weight and pelvic circumference were measured and severity of lameness was assessed using a numeric rating scale (NRS), a visual analogue scale (VAS) and kinetic gait analysis. This is the first study to assess both subjectively and objectively, the effect of weight loss alone on lameness in obese dogs with OA. The results indicate that body weight reduction causes a significant decrease in lameness from a weight loss of 6.10% onwards. Kinetic gait analysis supported the results from a body weight reduction of 8.85% onwards. These results confirm that weight loss should be presented as an important treatment modality to owners of obese dogs with OA and that noticeable improvement may be seen after modest weight loss in the region of 6.10 - 8.85% body weight.

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