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Too 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]
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They've lost me on this one--I can see why an *effective* diet drug for humans would be a good thing, since we are free to eat whatever we want, and not to exercise, and for some people, given these choices, obesity is almost inevitable. But diet drugs for humans are pretty ineffective, so far as I know, so I don't know why we'd expect one to work for dogs. And, wouldn't the 'green bean' diet and a little more exercise be *much* better for dogs, since their human pals can control the dog's diet and increase his or her exercise? Seems like that would work jut as well for the 13 year-old arthritic dog as a drug with multiple side effects--a little gentle exercise might even help the arthritis, and the old one might get a little extra fun and attention!
 

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I might take heck on this one, but I can't help it. When I heard this story, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. Diet pills for dogs? Unless there is some physical reason why the dog cannot walk, the dog needs to walk! If you cannot/won't walk your dog and you cannot/won't get someone to walk the the dog for you, maybe you shouldn't have a dog in the first place! To me, walking with Spencer is one of the most enjoyable activities I do with him. We even trudge through snow & walk with an umbrella. It's only the most severe weather that keeps us in. But, I do know I am probably in the minority. In my neighborhood, there are lots of dogs, but Spencer is the only one who gets walked on a regular basis. I just don't understand it.
 

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I agree. We control almost everything that goes into our dogs' mouths; we control their weight. Was listening to a report on NPR(!) about this drug, and it was mentioned that people find it as difficult to put their dogs on a diet as to put themselves on a diet. <_<

This summer, I thought Caper was getting a little chunky, so I cut back her rations. Then, Macy and her puppies came to us as fosters for the local rescue. Macy, being only a year old, once relieved of the burden of teen-age motherhood, ran and played with Caper until they were both worn out, day after day after day. Between the diet and exercise, Caper lost weight with no problem at all. :D
 

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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.[/b]
Makes sense to emphasize diet and exercise but to give an obese 13 year old dog with severe arthritis a drug, that's not without side effects, to lose weight makes no sense to me. Like giving a 100 year old woman diet pills.

I read the NADA application submitted by Pfizer for this drug and have concerns about side effects and the fact that without diet and exercise the dog is going to gain the weight back. Click on NADA 141-260 if you're interested in reading the 42 page New Animal Drug Application for Slentrol.

I have my doubts if this is going to be a big money maker for Pfizer. People will feel badly that their dog is vomiting, not wanting to eat, drooling or has soft stools and stop the drug.
 
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