Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that obesity has become one of the biggest public health problems in the United States over the past couple of decades. Interestingly, it isn't only a problem for homo sapiens - it's affecting our household pets, too. Any of you who treat pets here in the USA are probably nodding your heads right now. Dogs whose ligaments rupture under the strain of an extra 75 lbs on a skeleton that should only be carrying 70 lbs to start with... cats who can't muster the strength to drag their flabby butts over the lip of the litter pan... and they are almost invariably accompanied to my office by owners who state "but I hardly feed him ANYTHING! how can he be fat?" It's a common story, and a sad one.
Of course, Big Pharma would love to find the Magic Anti-Fat Pill, and I'm sure that they've been working night and day to come up with it because along the way, they've found Slentrol. Slentrol is a Magic Anti-Fat Pill for dogs.* Dogs who take Slentrol as instructed DO LOSE WEIGHT! They feel full, because the drug works on the intestinal level to stimulate a feeling of satiety. They eat less. The pounds come off. A dog taking Slentrol as instructed will generally reach his target weight within 6-12 months, depending of course on individual factors.
Discussing obesity with the owners of fat dogs is kinda touchy. In particular if the owner is also obese, the vet might feel really awkward raising the subject. Also if the veterinarian is obese, it can be difficult to bring it up. But I find that most of my own clients, when I simply state that their dog is clinically 20% or more over his ideal weight, are genuinely interested in trying to address it - or at least they CLAIM to be. Sometimes, they go ahead and start Slentrol right away, and I think everything will be great....until their first recheck. Then, the owners bring them in, full of concern. "He's not eating!" they say. Well, yes, he is eating. He is eating a *normal* amount of food. "But it's only 1/2 cup! He usually eats 4 cups a day, now just 1/2 cup!" they cry. But, see -- the dog was packing on excess pounds eating 4 cups a day. Four cups a day was KILLING the dog. Now the dog is losing weight, looking great, and becoming more energetic, able to run and play instead of lying on the floor 23 hours a day. Which brings up the other complaint - "my dog is hyper on this drug!" *sigh* Anyone who, like me, has had the personal experience of losing a few of those extra pounds will understand immediately that those extra pounds can really sap your strength and energy levels, and that once they're gone, you feel a lot more energetic. This is also true of our furry friends!
Once a dog has reached his target weight, the Slentrol program requires a 3-month maintenance phase. Zoetis originally wanted to call this the "Owner Retraining Phase," but apparently that was deemed inappropriate by the Political Correctness in Big Pharma task force. Still, it's a period of time in which the owner learns by direct observation exactly how much food is appropriate for the dog to eat, to maintain the ideal body weight. After the 3 months is over, the Slentrol is withdrawn - and the dog will be hungry again! But hopefully the owner will be able to stay strong and just keep feeding the right amount of food.
We sometimes see situations where a dog taking
Slentrol will start defending his food from his canine housemates who
come to scope out his leftovers. "Slentrol made my dog food-aggressive"
is the presenting complaint. Well, no it didn't! Your dog was always
food-aggressive, there just never was any leftover food to defend
because he always scarfed it down in five seconds!!! Address the food
aggression with behavioral modification techniques or by separating the
dogs when food is out, but don't let your dog get dangerously obese
again just because Slentrol has unmasked his previously occult food
What's most interesting to me & my fellow VBB is the large number of people who seem truly distressed at seeing their dog's appetite decrease. Food is clearly equated with love, and a big canine appetite is equated with acceptance and return of that love. The majority of Slentrol failures happen when people stop giving the drug because of this "side effect," which is of course not a "side effect" at all but rather the DESIRED effect of the drug!
I wish more people could recognize this in themselves, get over it, and allow their dogs to free themselves from the prison of obesity.
*NB: Slentrol is not actually magic. It is a drug that works pretty much as advertised, though. Please note that I do not now nor have I ever worked for Zoetis or any other pharmaceutical company. I don't get kickbacks from any drug company. I'm not on some secret "viral marketing" social media payroll, either. As far as the possibility of pro-Big-Pharma bias from li'l ol doc VBB here goes.... well, it's about as likely as it is that I will make a house call to cut the nails of your dangerously aggressive and untrained 198 lb Fila Brasiliero. In other words: I have no vested interest in promoting any Zoetis product. Thank you for your time.