Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, Banfield team up to collect obesity data

This collaboration will shed a new light on pet obesity in the U.S. and could lead to improved care for overweight pets.
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Sep 27, 2010

To celebrate National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on Oct. 13, Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Ernie Ward and the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention will team up with Banfield, The Pet Hospital, to collect new data that will aid in the fight against pet obesity.

The study will collect a body condition score from patients at Banfield’s 760 hospitals and will offer clients a survey to assess the pets’ nutritional health. Dr. Ward says the data will give veterinary professionals a more accurate look at the growing obesity problem in America’s pets. “We’ve got pretty good data, but this year, we’re going to take it a step further,” he says. “It’s very exciting stuff.”

Dr. Ward has collected similar data during past National Pet Obesity Awareness Day studies, but at just a few hundred clinics. With data from the 15,000 or so patients Banfield veterinarians will see on Oct. 13, the study will collect more accurate and thorough data.

“I’m intrigued because we’re finally going to get a very strong dataset,” Dr. Ward says. “Obesity is coming into its own as a real issue in the veterinary community.”

Dr. Elizabeth Lund, Banfield’s senior director of research, says the study will prove valuable to both pet owners and veterinarians by providing important insights into nutritional health. “People don’t always appreciate the impact that overfeeding, lack of exercise, and sedentary lifestyles can have on pets’ health,” she says. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

Dr. Lund says the partnership with Dr. Ward and Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is a great fit for everyone involved. “We thought there was so much value in partnering with Dr. Ward,” Dr. Lund says. “The larger the sample size, the more valuable and reliable the results are. We can help him get a big sample size. It’s a win-win for all of us.”