Weight loss and osteoarthritis – better late than never…probably!

It is well recognised in people that the incidence of knee osteoarthritis is strongly linked to body weight. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 30 then you are at a significantly higher risk of developing knee osteoarthritis compared to somebody who’s BMI is below 30. There is an interesting twist to this though.

I was intrigued to come across research showing that in older people with knee OA, their weight in their mid to late thirties was a better indicator of subsequent knee osteoarthritis than their current weight. This suggested that obesity may not just be an aggravating factor in knee osteoarthritis but rather a possible cause.

We discuss body weight extensively when counseling pet owners about managing their dogs with arthritis. As you will realise from reading the articles on this site or watching the Arthritis Videos, getting your dog to the right weight is a crucial part of improving their mobility, quality of life and reducing their dependence on anti-inflammatory drugs.

This human study raises the important issue of obesity as a long term health risk and the fact that even if your pet loses weight, there is still the possibility that the years of excess body mass to have had an adverse effect on joints.

Of course, the saying ‘better late than never’ is absolutely true here but the take home message is, I think, twofold. Firstly, if you know your dog is overweight and your vet has been trying to get them on a calorie controlled diet then maybe now is the time to do something about it. Secondly, if you are not sure if your dog is overweight  set up an appointment with the practice to have your dog’s weight assessed. Getting our overweight dog down to the right weight is never easy but it is probably worth doing sooner rather than later.

Ok then, better late than never and sooner rather than later.

Bye for now.