The Responsibility of Veterinarians to Address Companion Animal Obesity
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
Institute of Ageing & Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, Neston CH60 5SZ, UK
Institute of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Neston CH60 5SZ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 11 August 2018 / Accepted: 18 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
Obesity is a disease of rapidly increasing prevalence in dogs and cats, with significant and often lifelong implications for animal welfare. Veterinarians are expected and mandated to protect animal health and welfare, and provide informed consent. We provide an overview of the causes, risk factors, and consequences of pet obesity; evidence regarding veterinarian compliance in diagnosing and discussing obesity in small animal practice; and outline recommendations to prevent and address overweight and obesity in companion animals. We argue that small-animal veterinarians are not meeting their ethical and professional obligation to speak up about obesity, which is a One-Health problem.