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TDK conference 2020

The causes and consequences of obesity in small animals
Tóth Viktória Flávia - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Surgery
Supervisor: Dr. Miklós Pál Dunay


Obesity is a common problem among dogs and cats, which makes the animals susceptible to numerous diseases and they are at higher risk when it comes to procedures requiring anaesthesia. In the first part of my paper we summarized the processes behind the obesity of dogs and cats and the possible consequences based on previous scientific studies. Afterward, we have done a retrospective statistical analysis based on the patient database of the University of Veterinary Medicine, with special attention to the incidence of the diseases in the obese subpopulation and the factors impacting these diseases.

We analyzed the data and 127 documented diseases of 373 purportedly obese dogs and 140 purportedly obese cats between the 1st of January 2000 and the 7th of November 2019 from all the patients in the database. Using a two-tailed difference test, we found that 24 diseases among the dogs and 5 diseases among the cats are significantly more common in the obese subpopulation than in the non-obese subpopulation. We evaluated the relationship between the diseases and the conditionally impactful factors with logistic regression. The diseases were the independent variables, species, subspecies, sex and neutering were the categorical variables, age and Body Condition Score were the continuous predictors. We defined the p-value and the odds ratio of the various factors with backward elimination, then we evaluated the goodness of fit of the data.

Hypothyreosis, Cushing-syndrome, various neurological and orthopaedic diseases, diabetes mellitus, neoplastic and heart diseases have a great importance among the significantly more common diseases in the obese subpopulation. The sedentary lifestyle, the increased loading of the musculoskeletal system, the decreased metabolism and the increased level of inflammatory agents and the factors which cause oxidative stress can be in the background of these comorbidities. Tracheacollapsus and cystitis also have a high significance, but the causality is not clarified in these cases. In the case of some diseases, there is a direct, in other cases, an indirect relationship with obesity. The previous scientific studies do not take note of the incidence of gastrointestinal and hepatic diseases and pancreatitis, but in our study the occurrence of these diseases was significantly higher in the obese subpopulation. This is remarkable, because – according to previous studies – these are common diseases in cachexic patients with low Body Condition Score. A number of additional, complex studies are needed to clarify the connections, but even based on current results, we can give more precise information to the owners in favour of preventing obesity and we can make a more specific therapeutic treatment plan in the case of concurrent diseases/comorbidities.

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