While there may be challenging barriers to successful weight loss and maintenance, there are opportunities veterinary professionals can seize. Together, as veterinary professionals, we can develop stronger partnerships with pet owners to improve their engagement and commitment to their pet’s weight, helping them understand its importance to pet health, activity, mobility, comfort and quality of life.
Opportunities to Improve Case Management
Incorporate a complete nutritional assessment into the veterinary visit: This enables early guidance on nutrition, as well as may increase an owner’s ability to provide a diet history, facilitate discussion about healthy body weight, and identify increasing body weight trends sooner.
Position pet weight loss as a team effort: Arm the full hospital team with consistent messaging to keep clients engaged and committed to any weight loss (or maintenance) plan.
Create an individualized weight loss plan: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to pet weight loss. Each plan should be tailored to each pet and owner.
Actions you take to approach the excess weight issue are not easy and may not be immediately successful. As you plan and implement your hospital team’s approach to managing pets, keep the five domains of quality (see below) in mind and incorporate a continuous improvement process, such as the PDSA cycle (Plan-Do-Study-Act), to ensure that your approach is meeting the needs of your pet patient, its owner and your hospital team as intended.
Read the full report on the importance of weight management in pets as it relates to osteoarthritis.