Obesity in Pets/Slentrol
Dr. Georgette Wilson
Chubby, chunky, extra fluffy, or even full figured…these are all ways of saying a pet is fat. Obesity is affecting our pets in epidemic proportions. It is defined as being 20% over your body’s ideal weight. So why are our pets battling the bulge just like so many of their owners? There is a myriad of causes. This show will discuss how to recognize if your pet is overweight and ways you can help it to slim down.
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Please welcome your “Pet Doctor” host, veterinary media consultant and veterinarian, Dr. Bernadine Cruz.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Chubby, chunky, extra fluffy or even full figured. These are all terms I used when giving physical examinations to my clients’ pets. I bet you get the idea. These are always the same, their pet is fat. Obesity is affecting our pets in epidemic proportions. Now, obesity is defined as being 20% over your body’s ideal weight. So, why are our pets battling the bulge just like so many of their owners? There are a myriad of causes.
You’re listening to Pet Life Radio and “The Pet Doctor”. I’m your host, Dr. Bernadine Cruz. Our guest today is Dr. Georgette Wilson of Pfizer Animal Health. We’ll be discussing why our pets are getting overweight, the problems associated with this extra heft. How to recognize if your pet is fat and not fluffy and ways in which you can help it slim down.
We’ll be right back after this short break.
Announcer 2: Please have a seat in the waiting room. The doctor will be with you shortly right after this message.
Announcer 2: Welcome back to “The Pet Doctor” on Pet Life Radio with Dr. Bernadine Cruz. The doctor is in and will see you now.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Our guest today is Dr. Georgette Wilson. She received her degree in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University and she’s been with Pfizer Animal Health since 2003.
Dr. Wilson, thank you so much for being with us today.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, thank you for having me.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Well, I see too many of my clients coming in themselves being a little on the chunky side and too many of their pets being chunky. How common is obesity in America’s pets?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, the latest figures that we have is that 40% of dogs in the United States are classified as either overweight or obese. Putting that into numbers, people estimate that to be about 17 million dogs.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: That’s a lot of dogs. Now, are cats affected as badly as dogs?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Cats are affected almost to the same degree as dogs. Again, there’s the issue of not having enough exercise for cats because they’re mostly indoors. That’s one of the problems that we see in dogs as well.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: It’s so much safer for them to be indoors, but yes, I agree. Kitties wake up and what do they do? Eat, sleep, poop, sleep some more.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes. What a life. Right?
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Yes, tough life. Yes, definitely I want to be coming back as them. Now, how can a pet owner tell if their pet’s overweight? They see their pet everyday and they go, “It’s not fat. It’s just maybe fluffy.” How can they tell?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, sometimes a dog, it can be a little bit challenging because there’s so many differences in the sizes of dogs and their breeds. But, one of the ways that a veterinarian has approach this is using what’s called a body condition score. I guess that’s similar to a body mass index for people where you try to standardize what a pet should look like. In doing a body condition score for their dogs, what a pet owner should do is kind of feel them around their bodies, it’s not just looking at them. It’s actually putting their hands on their pets and feeling them.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: What’s the feel?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, one of the things we tell them to feel is around the ribs area. So, they should be able to feel individual ribs but they shouldn’t be able to see them. Then also, they could check around the back. You shouldn’t feel too much fatty tissue on the back. Also, if you actually just looking at the dog, let’s say you’re looking at your dog from the top down, it should have a nice waist or so.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: So, kind of like us.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Exactly. But mostly, it’s all about actually feeling the dog. If owners take their dogs to the veterinarian, the veterinarian is trained to do these type of exams and can tell the owner whether or not their dog is obese or overweight.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I know. Sometimes people come in and going, “I found these tumors on my dog. Oftentimes, they’re these little fat, they’re firm masses right in front of their hips.”
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes, I used to hear that.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: And people are going, “Is the tumor…?” I’m going, “Well, gee, your body is really talented because there’s a tumor on both sides of the body at the same place. In actuality, that’s fat.” “How can that be? Oh, my goodness!” They’re really horrified when I tell them their pets are overweight. Oftentimes, “How can it be? I’m only feeding this dog or this cat the best food out there?” What’s wrong with that train of thought?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: We hear that a lot and approaching obesity with our client can be very concerning for veterinarians because we understand that pet owners love their pets. What happens with people is, you know, we love our pets so we indulge them. We know that dogs love to eat and so we feed them. Regardless of what we’re feeding them, if we feed them too much and we don’t give them enough exercise, these dogs will become overweight and obese. So, veterinarians are trying to look out for the best health for the patients, in this case the dog, and trying to express to the owner that being overweight or obese is not just about how a dog looks. It’s about a dog’s quality of life and health.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: One of the things that’s so difficult, Dr. Wilson, I know that you’ve been in clinical practice, too, is too many times the owner is sitting there and they’re definitely overweight. So, it’s trying to do that politically correct statements of, “Gee, your pet’s overweight, and oh, by the way, you’re overweight.” The other thing that I also hear is too many times people would say, “Oh, I’ll just fill up the bowl and just let them eat because my momma or I’ve always heard that a pet’s not going to overeat.” Do you agree with that?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: I don’t and we’re trying to help pet owners, and especially starting when dogs are puppies, to say, “Dogs should be fed only a certain amount of food.” It depends on the size of the dog and the dog that but your veterinarian is the best person to tell you exactly how much of a specific diet a pet owner should be giving their dogs.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Is it better to feed them once a day or twice a day?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: It depends on the dog. Typically, most people agree that it’s better to feed twice a day. There are some dogs that even if you feed them twice a day, they’ll only eat once a day. But typically, most dogs do better when they’re fed twice a day. Some dogs even three times a day, depending on the dogs. Smaller breed dogs may need to be fed smaller amounts more frequently.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: I used to tell people that little dogs are almost like little sports cars. They have two speeds.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Exactly. Yes, high metabolism.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: They have a little gas tank. They can’t hold a lot of food. Yes, I totally agree that especially those little kids are the once that are really, really active may need to have more than two meals a day.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Correct. Yes. The thing is it’s looking at portions and again, as with people, it’s all about calories ingested and calories burned off. Some people say, “I’m feeding my dog a light diet.” But they may be feeding too much of the light diet and it kind of negates the whole purpose of feeding the light diet in the first place. So, it’s important to pay attention not only to how much is in the bowl but the type of food that they’re feeding as well.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: What can be so frustrating for, I think a lot of veterinarians and pet owners alike, is when you look at the package of dog food or cat food and it says, “OK. Your pet weighs this much and it should be eating 12 cups of food a day.” Any comments about what the labeling is on a lot of these pet foods?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, we do know that for each dog, the metabolisms are so different even for the same breed and the same size dogs. I guess, it’s up to people as well where you really have to look at the individual dog. We use the guidelines from the pet foods and they’re very rough estimates. But it’s up to the owner and the veterinarian to really understand how much that dog need. So, what I used to tell clients is, “You can start out by feeding what’s on the label. Every two weeks or so, check your dog’s weight and check the body conditions or to see if there’s actually too much or maybe even too little for the dog.” Again, it goes down to variations for dogs and also what that dog’s activity level is.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I really agree with you because it can be so frustrating. Sometimes, what I’ll tell clients is that, “You know, a person your size can eat maybe 2,000 a day according to government standards. You know that if you ate that much, you wouldn’t make it through the door in about a week.”
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Are there low cal treats that people – let’s talk about dogs – can give their dogs because giving treats is definitely giving love and we want to give them something. Sometimes we feel so guilty because we’ve been working all day, didn’t get a chance to get home and take them for a walk. So, “OK. Here’s a treat.” Are there some good treats out there, Dr. Wilson?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Typically, we say if they can get low calorie Keeble for their dogs and just give just a handful enough. Giving them low calorie biscuits and vegetables as well. Some dogs really like the vegetables. It’s something they can pick a long time and they get that crunching sensation as well, carrot or celery, something like that.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: People oftentimes are amazed when I tell them, “Give your dog a carrot.” “But that’s people food! I thought we’re not suppose to give people food.” I’m like, “That’s not really people food. That’s a base ingredient. That’s pretty good.”
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes. That’s the one exception. Correct.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Yes, something that they can do. You’ll also talk a little bit about these low calorie foods. There’s so many that are out there. A person will put their dog or cat on this low calorie foods and after a year of being on this food, there hasn’t been a difference. Speculations as to why is it just a matter of their putting in too much food into these dogs and cats and not getting enough exercise?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: But what we found, the too much food and not enough exercise is the main cause of the problem. But there are some dogs that actually have underlying medical conditions contributing to their weight problem. If a pet owner notices that their dog is not losing weight or even gaining weight on a low calorie food, we make sure that there’s no underlying cause for the obesity. Also, we do know that a lot of the low calorie foods are low in fat and we do know that there’s a certain amount of fat that’s needed in a diet to make the dog feel full. If you speak to anybody who is on a low fat diet, they may tell you that, “I’m always hungry” because they never feel satisfied.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: It’s very boring, too.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes. It’s the same thing with some of the low calorie food. So, it maybe just a good dog does not feel full and tend to eat more of that diet and it contributes more to the weight gain.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I‘ll oftentimes tell people that, “Gee, even though you’re giving low calorie treats when you give a whole box of low calorie treats to your dog in one day, that’s probably going to be a bit too much. Like you and I eating a whole carton of a low fat ice cream. It’s still that whole thing of low fat ice cream.”
I think another real problem that people have is – and I have to admit, when I had my small dog, I did it, too. She sat there underneath the table when I was eating meals and, “OK, just a little, just a little bit more.” I found out that I wasn’t the only one that was doing it. The whole family was doing it.
Any suggestions, Dr. Wilson, of what people can do if they just can’t stop giving their dog yummies at the table?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, yes, we actually did research pet owners and we were trying to find correlations between what was going on in the household and the obesity in their pets. We found out that dogs that tended to be around the kitchen or dining room either doing food preparation or dinner time tended to be the dogs that were the most overweight. So as cool as it sounds, sometimes it’s best to make sure that dog is not even around during mealtime. I know some people say that, “You know, my dog whimpers and everything.” But in the end, that’s probably the best thing for your dog
Also, we’re trying to highlight people is that there are other ways to reward your dogs. You know, you can give your dog a treat and we know that dogs love food and love treats but a treat for a dog maybe going out and playing ball or frisbie, going swimming or even going for a walk around the neighborhood. So, if you feel guilty about kind of putting your dog away when it’s mealtime, you can reward your dog later by going out for a walk and that kind of benefits everyone in the family.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: That’s a great idea. You walk the dog, the dog walks and probably everyone’s going to lose some weight.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Oh, yes! Another thing, we also tell anyone who has a dog on a diet is to make sure that neighbors are aware of that, too. Sometimes the dog – very smart – and they go to the neighbor’s house and look for food as well. So, it’s important that that dog who have access to other people’s home, those people know that their dog is on some kind of a diet or calorie restriction.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: My practice is in the area called “Leisure World”. So, it is a close community of seniors. All these dogs are out there walking and people say, “Yes, what I finally had to do was tell all my neighbors and go ahead and set him up with little carrots or whatever else.” The dog would walk up to a house like trick or treat going, “Hello! I’m here for my treat.” And really was put off that there is no treat. So, I think that’s good.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Oh, yes. They learn really fast.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Oh, they do. Too smart for our own good. You had mentioned earlier on, Dr. Wilson, that there are lot of health issues associated with pets being overweight. What are some of those?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: I think some of the ones that clients, the pet owners, can really see are things like joint problems like arthritis. When you see a limping dog, most people think that, “Oh, you know, my dog is just getting older and my dog has arthritis.” A dog that has arthritis and is also obese, they can really benefit from losing weight. But you don’t even have to get to what we consider ideal body weight. Even losing some weight makes a big difference. We also know that certain types of heart disease and certain types of breathing problems, we see more commonly in overweight and obese dogs.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I’m always so afraid when a chunky pet comes in and I need to put them under anesthesia, for instance, to clean their teeth. There’ve been times when I’ve told clients, “OK, this procedure really needs to be done but your pet is at such a higher risk of having anesthetic complications and giving me gray hair while watching this kitten under anesthesia. Let’s go ahead, get some weight off that pet first and then do the procedure. It’s going to be so much safer.”
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes, I can definitely relate. I used to say the same thing when I was in practice with clients where you’re looking at a dog that needs surgery yet it’s a high risk so you’re kind of caught in a really bad situation. So, we try to stress that if we can delay surgery for the dog to lose weight, that’s the best thing but sometimes, we don’t even have that option and that’s what makes it really difficult for us.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Well, I’ve been talking with Dr. Georgette Wilson of Pfizer Animal Health, about chubby pets. When we return, she’ll be telling us about a revolutionary new medication to help your dogs slim down.
Announcer 2: Please, have a seat in the waiting room. The doctor will be with you shortly right after this message.
Announcer 2: Welcome back to “The Pet Doctor” on Pet Life Radio with Dr. Bernadine Cruz. The doctor is in and will see you now.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: My guest today is Dr. Georgette Wilson of Pfizer Animal Health. Now, it seems as though pudgy pets and pudgy people are going hand and paw. Is there a relationship you’ve found in your studies to having plump people and a rotund Rover?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: We weren’t specifically looking for that in some of the studies but we did see that there was a definite trend where pets that tend to be overweight, we did see a trend where some of the owners were also overweight or obese as well.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: It’s a sad situation. You’re saying it’s just a lack of exercise. If you have a cat, are there things that you can do to try and get that kitty to slim down. You can’t try to take it for a walk around the block, but most of the times, the cat’s going to go next? Suggestions for those kitties?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes. Well, I will say that probably diet control is the most important. What we recommend is that any pet owner that has an overweight or obese cat to go see the veterinarian. Are there clinical issues that we have to deal with when cats lose weight? So, it’s important that any pet owner who has a cat, who’s trying to get the cat to lose weight, do so under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I know a real problem with a fat cat. Their metabolism is so different than dogs. For the longest time, veterinarians – before we’ve learned more about the cat’s metabolism – really tried to treat cats as little dogs and dogs as little people. Sometimes people say, “OK, here’s a food, give it to a dog. The dog doesn’t want it. If you have some tough love and just don’t feed it for 24 hours, it’ll finally say, “Fine, I’ll eat that food.”
But there’s real problems in trying to do that with a cat. Either trying to put them on a food they don’t like or really, really cut down on the amount of food that you’re giving them because cats will mobilize the fat many times in their body, deposit it into their liver, then become jaundiced yellow. So, lipidosis is a fancy term. I’m just trying to think of a product of lipidosis, fat liver disease can really be a problem. So, I totally agree with you, Dr. Wilson, that if a person try to put their cat on a diet in particular, you really need to do it slowly and under a doctor’s supervision.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes. What I tell some clients, too, is that some cats seem to do better on high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Some we think of that like an attitude like diet as well. Again, that’s not the best life for all cats but it’s something that most pet owners with cats can talk to their doctors about.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: It’s kind of like an Catkin’s diet instead of Atkin’s diet.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Exactly.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Now, I kind of tease people before they get on the break telling them about a new medication that Pfizer has come out with to help pets lose weight. What is that?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: The new medication is called “Slentrol” and it was approved by the FDA early this year. It’s been on the market since the spring time. We’re very excited about it because just the approval itself by the FDA alone really highlights the problems that we’re having with canine obesity and the frustrations that we know dog owners are experiencing.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Dr. Wilson, I know that there’s a new over-the-counter medication called Alli and how is that similar to Slentrol. Are they the same at all?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, I really want to highlight that Slentrol and Alli work very differently. Alli works by preventing digestion of fat and when you prevent the digestion of fat, what tends to happen is fat actually stays in the intestinal tract. All the fat that’s eaten comes out and it causes a lot of undesirable side effects. I know people who remember the commercials from several years ago probably won’t forget some of the side effects as far as inability to control defecation .
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Greasy blow out diarrhea.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Exactly.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Yes. I think I’d rather be overweight than have that problem. Thank you very much. Are there any possible side effects to Slentrol.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: There are side effects with Slentrol, but in general, it’s well tolerated by dogs. Probably, the more common side effect that’s seen in dogs is vomiting. When we did clinical studies, there were about one in four dogs that did experience vomiting. At least once – but this is over the course of treatment which in the study was four months – and I think anyone who’s treated dogs knows that dogs vomit for different reasons but it did happened it some of the studies. There were a few dogs that did experience loose stools and in some, they did experience what the owner thought was lethargy or so.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Probably because they just weren’t begging at the table as much as they were otherwise. “I can just sleep.” Now, is Slentrol very expensive?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, Slentrol will cost...
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I know it’s relative.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Yes, it’s relative because the price depends on the size of the dog as is any medication. So you know, we’re treating anywhere from Chihuahuas on up to Great Danes. But in general, the average dog going over the average course of treatment will cost the owner about $1-$2 per day.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: That’s not too bad especially if you have that overweight pet and just think about the money you’re saving with the pet food.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Absolutely. This is a life long drug. This is something that we anticipate in most dogs will be on it for several months.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: OK. So, it is going to take sometime for them to lose weight. It’s not just going to literally roll off their bodies.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: It will take time and we actually want it to take time. We know that when some of the people when dogs lose weight too fast, they tend to lose muscle over fat. That’s the last thing that we want to do with dogs and with people as well. We know that at the end of the therapy, if you tend to lose more muscle, that means you have a lower metabolism and so you’ll tend to put weight back on much faster. We showed in the clinical studies that we did with Slentrol was that dogs maintain their muscle mass and what they lost is the fat which is exactly the way you want to do it. So, these dogs lost, who were on Slentrol, weight at a rate that the clinical nutritionists tell us is the safest way to lose weight.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Now, is Slentrol only available through a veterinarian? Can they get it online, at their pet stores? How do they obtain it?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Slentrol will only be available through veterinarians. We understand that treating obesity is important. We know that there are some dogs that aren’t most ideal candidates for Slentrol. So, we’re recommending that pet owners go to the veterinarians, have their dogs evaluated to see if they’re overweight or obese and to have the veterinarians let them know if they’re a candidate for Slentrol. But this is something that’s only available to veterinarians.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Great. Now, are there safety measures that a person and a veterinarian together as this health team should look into before starting the pet on Slentrol? Should they do blood work routine for instance?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Doing blood work is at the discretion of the veterinarian. It depends on the overall health of the dog. We recommend that blood work should done, it’s not absolutely necessary for each dog. But if the veterinarian suspects that the dog is obese or overweight because of a different medical problem or condition or if there are some other illnesses that should be addressed, you know, like liver disease, kidney disease or anything like that. That’s something that blood work will help veterinarians know whether the dog or not is healthy enough to be on any medication especially Slentrol.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Once a pet has started Slentrol, do they just go home with their box of medication or is there a routine monitoring of the pet?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: There is routine monitoring with Slentrol. Owners will have to come back monthly. Again, I mentioned before that we know individual dogs have different metabolic rates and they’re going to be respond differently to the medication. What’s great about Slentrol is they’ll almost come back in every month, the dose of Slentrol is adjusted so that these dogs lose weight at a steady and reliable rate. That’s something that’s a unique feature to this product. But I’m pointing out to pet owners that if you’re going to have any successful weight loss program, you really have to have a lot of follow-ups. Even a dog that sometimes exercise should be coming back to the veterinarian periodically to have that program tailored.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: A little Weight Watchers, we have to keep coming in getting weighed.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Oh, yes. That’s one of the reasons why Weight Watchers is so successful. It’s that follow-up. It’s not just a one time. It’s the follow-up and having the relationship of the, in this case, the pet owner, veterinarian and the patient.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Slentrol sounds like a fantastic product for dogs because I know there are many, many dogs. In my own practice, I do have dogs on it right now. People have been extremely happy. But the question a lot of people have because they have dogs and – oh, by the way – fat cats, is there anything in the pipeline working to try and get a Slentrol type product for chubby cats?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Well, I will point out first that Slentrol is not a product for cats, in case somebody has that idea. Because people will sometimes wonders, “If it works really well on my dog and I’m thinking about using it for my cat.” Slentrol is not for cats. I believe Pfizer or other companies are looking at opportunities for looking at products for cats. But as you mentioned before, we know that weight loss in cats is a difficult area. I know companies is going to be looking at the best product that works and is also really safe. But I’m not aware of anything that Pfizer is doing specifically. I hope they have somewhere.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: There’s too many cats that need it.
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Exactly.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Now, you mentioned that cats can’t take Slentrol and I know a lot of people listening to this going, “Well, Alli, all those side effects. Gee, I don’t want to do that. I wonder if I can take Slentrol along with my dog?” Can people take Slentrol?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Thanks for mentioning that because I was going to get to that. Absolutely not. Slentrol is only labeled for use in dogs. I’ve pointed out to people that cats are not small dogs and Slentrol works differently in cats than it does in dogs. It also works differently in people than it works in dogs. So, while Slentrol is a safe product in dogs, it does have side effects in people. So, this is why we’re telling people that they can get side effects from it if they do take it themselves.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: OK. So, good thing I can tell my clients, “No, this is not for you. This is just for your dog.”
Dr. Georgette Wilson: Absolutely.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: If people want to learn more about Slentrol, where can they go to get more information besides their veterinarian?
Dr. Georgette Wilson: They can log on www.Slentrol.com and there’s a consumer website where clients can get information. This include clients that are curious about the product, clients who already have their pets on the product, too. It really gives a comprehensive overview of the product in detail.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Well, Dr. Wilson, I really appreciate you taking your time today. You’ve given us some great tips on how we can get our couch potato pets to help slim down.
So, everyone listening, with the appropriate exercise and attention to proper nutrition, you can add years to your pet’s life. Obesity is a preventable disease, 100%. The battle of the bulge takes the cooperation of all members of the family. Remember, your pet didn’t get chubby overnight and it’s going to take sometime and patience to return your pet to optimal health. Need help in determining if your pet is fit or fat? Just ask your veterinarian. Why should you care? Because it’s your pet, health matters.
Thanks for listening.
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