Weight Management

Specialist consultations regarding weight management

Over 60% of vets consider weight gain and obesity as the biggest health and welfare concern for UK dogs. It is estimated that approximately 40% of the dog population is overweight or obese. Excess weight is increasingly common in our canine companions, and has a real and serious impact on their health and welfare. Weight gain and obesity should be considered a medical condition, and is not something we should feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss. Overweight dogs die earlier and have higher rates of diseases such as arthritis, breathing difficulties, skin disease, and cancer. Scientific research and studies have shown that; 

  • Excess body weight significantly reduces a dog’s life expectancy (by as much as 4 years in some breeds)
  • Weight loss is an effective treatment for arthritis in overweight dogs
  • Preventing excess body weight reduces the prevalence of hip dysplasia and arthritis of the hips and other joints
  • The majority of dogs presented for neurological rehabilitation are overweight or obese
  • Excess weight impairs multiple respiratory functions and weight loss results in significant improvement of these respiratory function
  • Quality-of-life is reduced in overweight dogs and quality-of-life improves following weight loss
  • Modest weight loss of just 6-8% of body weight results in improvement of lameness and reduced pain in dogs with arthritis
  • Overweight dogs of predisposed breeds are more likely to suffer from intervertebral disc extrusion (slipped disc) which can result in paralysis
  • Overweight brachycephalic dogs are more likely to suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)
  • Obesity predisposes to certain cancers such as bladder cancer in dogs

Many owners struggle to keep a healthy balance between the energy their dog gets in their food and that consumed during exercise, which leads to their dog gaining weight.  Recently, University of Cambridge vet and geneticist, Dr Eleanor Raffan has studied the genetics of obesity and has shown that dogs’ genes can affect their tendency to gain weight. Dr Raffan, a European and RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine, offers a specialist-led weight management clinic. Owners often get the blame for their dog becoming overweight but as Dr Raffan explains, “it sounds simple to cut down food and exercise more – but many owners struggle to turn this into reality because of the challenges posed by their dogs’ health, behaviour and household”. Through the VSO weight management clinic, Dr Raffan provides tailored advice for each patient, to turn those good intentions into the reality of slimmer, happier and healthier dogs.  

The weight management clinic will assess your dog’s weight in the context of their general health and with consideration of both your and your dog’s requirements. We are happy to consult with owners at any stage – from severely overweight patients resistant to prior weight management to dogs “at risk” of gaining excess weight and whose owners would like in-depth advice on averting a weight problem.

Initial weight management consultations last for 60 minutes and are followed by an individualised weight management plan, tailored to your dog’s unique requirements. This gives us the opportunity to discuss your pet’s weight, identify any potential underlying or concurrent health issues, and formulate a plan for effective and sustainable weight management. An initial consultation costs £220.00. If required, follow-up consultations last for 30 minutes, are followed by a written report, and cost £120.00.

Weight management

What we do

We provide a service that allows pet owners to consult with veterinary specialists by telephone or video consultation.

We offer independent, specialist advice from the comfort of your own home and without the commitment of further tests, treatment or significant costs. During the consultation with one of our specialists, we can discuss all aspects of the pet’s condition, including options and recommendations for further investigation, the diagnosis (or potential diagnoses), potential treatment options and the likely prognosis.

How it works

It’s easy to get a specialist opinion on your pet’s condition

Online form

Request a consultation by filling out our online request form.

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Set appointment

We will contact you with an appointment date and time.

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Review documents

We collect and review all of your pet’s previous history and test results in advance of your consultation.

Number 3

Phone call or video

Your video or telephone consult takes place.

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You and your local vet receive a written summary of what was discussed during your consultation.

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