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Obesity in Dogs

By: Dr. Rebecca Remillard

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Diagnosis In-depth

Your veterinarian will want to determine the cause of your dog's obesity before deciding upon treatment. Diagnostic tests that your veterinarian may wish to perform include:

  • A thorough physical examination, including an accurate measure of body weight and an assessment of body condition score.

  • Assessment of your dog's current daily intake of all food, treats, snacks, table foods and exercise schedule.

  • Routine blood work including a complete blood cell count, serum profile and urinalysis. If the results are normal, obesity is probably the result of excessive caloric intake and decreased energy expenditure. However, if the results of these routine tests indicate a potential problem, additional tests are warranted to specifically identify the condition.

    Additional diagnostic tests may include:

  • Blood and urine glucose (sugar) levels. Diabetes mellitus can be diagnosed based upon detecting high blood glucose level and the positive detection of glucose in the urine. Sometimes a series of blood glucose measurements are needed to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Urine cortisol:creatinine ratio. Hyperadenocorticism should be suspected when the ratio is high.

  • ACTH stimulation test. An adrenocorticotrophic hormone stimulation test is used to better diagnose hyperadenocorticism.

  • Low dose dexamethasone test. This test, used in concert with the urine cortisol:creatinine ratio and an ACTH stimulation test, yields a definitive diagnosis of hyperadenocorticism.

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