The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) is asking veterinarians to participate in its seventh annual study by collecting data to quantify obesity prevalence in the nation’s dogs and cats. APOP hopes veterinarians will take a little extra time Oct. 9 to evaluate and record basic body conditioning scores for all the dog and cat patients they see that day.
“Our historical research shows a clear epidemic of pet obesity in our country,” says Ernie Ward, DVM, founder and president of APOP, in a release. “The annual veterinarian-conducted study is vital to measuring the longitudinal trend so our industry is informed. Armed with this knowledge, APOP, the veterinary community and entire pet industry can set forth common strategies to fight and prevent overweight pets, because we all want to give them longer, healthier and happier lives.”
Veterinarians can go to petobesityprevention.org  to participate in the study. There they can register and download a form to record their assessments. After the Oct. 9 study day, forms can be faxed or scanned and emailed back to APOP.
Last year’s study, which evaluated 80 million pet assessments, revealed that 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats were overweight. Possibly the most alarming data collected from the 2012 study, APOP says, was that among pets assessed as obese by veterinarians, nearly half of their owners thought their pets’ weight as normal. “The APOP calls upon our fellow veterinarians to become an active voice in quantifying and fighting pet obesity in our country,” Ward says.