SourceToo many dogs are lounging around at home all day while their owners work, then stuffing on table scraps in front of the television at night, so much so that veterinarians say there is an epidemic of canine obesity in this country.
Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration announced one possible way to address the problem: the first prescription drug to treat obesity in dogs.
“This is a welcome addition to animal therapies, because dog obesity appears to be increasing,” said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the food and drug agency, announcing the approval of the drug.
Veterinarians define obese dogs as those that are 20 percent overweight. About 5 percent of dogs in the United States are obese, and another 20 precent to 30 percent are overweight, according to the drug agency. In all, Pfizer, the maker of the dog drug, called Slentrol, estimates that four million American dogs are obese and potential candidates for its therapy, which will cost $1 to $2 a day...
The epidemic of obesity in dogs mirrors a similar problem in humans in this country. And veterinarians say that humans are mostly to blame for fat dogs. “People are treating their dogs like children,” said Dr. Hal Taylor III, a veterinarian in Columbus, Ohio, who calls obesity one of the biggest health issues dogs face. “They overindulge them, they get them heavy.” Dr. Taylor has conducted research for Iams, the dog food manufacturer, to help find weight-loss food formulas...
But Dr. Taylor said he would emphasize diet and exercise for his dog patients and prescribe Slentrol only for the most obese and infirm, citing the hypothetical example of a 13-year-old dog with severe arthritis.
“We can’t stop people from eating Big Macs. We can dogs,” he said. “To me, the problem is very fixable.”[/b]