Archie is an 11 year old English Cocker Spaniel who presented to Riverside Small Animal Hospital in July 2013 with an episode of diarrhea. The attending DVM treated the diarrhea, but also noted that Archie was significantly overweight. Overweight pets are more likely to develop: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure much like people. It can also contribute to osteoarthritis, urinary bladder stones, and complications under anesthetic. The DVM recommended a special diet for Archie that would help his easily upset stomach and was also low in calories to assist in his weight loss.
Archie’s family had some progress with helping Archie lose weight and when they heard Riverside was hosting a Biggest Loser competition they were eager to join in. To begin Archie was weighed and given a body condition score. A body condition score (BCS) is used to evaluate the proper weight distribution of an animal, in other words if they are too thin, ideal, or too heavy. An ideal score on the BCS chart is a 4 or 5 out of 9. Archie was assessed to have a BCS of 8/9 and at the same time weighed in at 23.3 kg (51.3 lbs). It was difficult for veterinary technician to feel Archie’s ribs over a heavy fat pad covering, he had noticeable fat deposits over his lower back and at the base of his tail. He didn’t have a noticeable waist and his abdomen was slightly distended. The BCS allowed the veterinary staff to continue to assess the correct weight for Archie on his journey. As part of the competition Archie had to be weighed every two weeks for almost three months. Frequent weigh-ins also ensured Archie was losing weight at the correct speed.
At the end of the competition Archie had a weight of 21.1 kg (46.4 lbs)! He had lost approximately 10% of his body weight, equivalent to a person with a weight of 180 lbs losing 18 lbs! This pulled Archie into the lead to win the competition. Since then Archie has continued to lose another 0.8 kg (1.8 lbs) and is closer to achieving an ideal body condition thanks to the perseverance and dedication of his family.