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The University of Liverpool’s Royal Canin Weight Management Clinic has celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a special event to showcase their research in tackling the pet obesity epidemic.
In addition to providing a specialist referral service for managing overweight and obese cats and dogs, the centre coordinates various clinical studies aimed at improving understanding obesity in companion animals.
Using a combination of an individualised diet plan and lifestyle changes, the clinic has shown that animals under specialist care can lose an average 20% of body weight, with the most successful ones losing over 40%. These results eclipse weight loss performance for people, where 5-10% of weight loss equates with success.
The clinic has also pioneered the use of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) to determine the amount of body fat lost by each patient. To date, the combined fat loss from all patients exceeds a tonne.
Dr Alex German, from the University’s Small Animal Teaching Hospital and lead at the Royal Canin Weight Management Clinic, said: “Through 10 years of research, we have shown that obesity is a complex and challenging disease that dramatically impacts the animal’s quality of life.
“We now know that tailoring a weight management plan to the individual is the best way to achieve long-term success. Our clinic is dedicated to improving the welfare of companion animals, and we will continue to conduct clinical studies to help us better understand the problem.
“Our studies, for example, have shown that rapid growth during the first months of life can increase the chance of a cat becoming obese later in life. We now need to determine the factors involved, so as to develop insights into how to prevent this important disease in our pet companions.”
Lee Danks, Veterinary Scientific Support Manager at Royal Canin, said: “The Royal Canin Weight Management Clinic was the first of its kind in Europe and, ten years on, Alex and his team continue to provide innovative and lasting solutions for overweight companion animals.
“Not only have we seen great success through individual referral cases, but 51 scientific articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as the team continues to research obesity in pets, helping us to both refine and better understand various methods in obesity management and prevention.”
The next 10 years will see the veterinary team take greater strides in tailoring weight loss, obesity prevention and improving the quality of life of UK pets.
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