SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

May 17, 2013

Vet Connection: The silent epidemic affecting our pets

(Continued)

For cats, use kitty toys to encourage play and movement. Play chase games up and down stairs so your kitty gets in some step aerobics. Teasers on strings and even laser pointers can keep your cat moving; a couple of 20-minute sessions each day will help your feline burn more calories.

Many cat clients ask me what is the pouch that hangs down between some cats’ hind legs. It is not a normal part of cat anatomy. My brother–in-law coined the term “ventral turret” for the saggy skin there. It is present in cats that are not getting enough exercise. They are indoors sitting in a sunny spot rather than climbing, jumping and hunting. So, really, our kitties need an abdominal workout, and doing play sessions on stairs is a good start.

Once you have started the process, your veterinarian will want to see you for regular weigh-ins and consultations to make sure you are meeting goals and adjusting as needed.

This is a serious issue and has a proven effect on longevity. We all want our pets to be with us for as long as possible, so helping them lose excess weight is just one way we can help make that happen.

Go to Purina’s weight loss website for some great tips on getting your cat and dog in better shape: http://www.projectpetslimdown.com/Home/HowItWorks.

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Dr. Elizabeth Bradt is a 1986 graduate of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is the owner of All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem. Email your pet questions to docliz@creaturehealth.com. Please title your email “Vet Connection.”

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