ADVICE TO ANIMAL OWNERS
GET a benchmark body weight for your animal and re-weigh regularly - at least every 6 months. This is particularly important once your animal is entering old age as major organ system diseases can be present but show no other signs for a long time before you notice something is wrong.
ALWAYS - try to keep your animals body weight within the normal published range for it's type. Your veterinarian will advise you of the correct weight.
SEEK the advice of your veterinarian as soon as you notice significant weight loss.
Weight loss is one of the most important cardinal signs of disease processes in all animals. For this reason owners should record their animal's body weight and check it regularly. Small changes in body weight from the usual weight for an animal (+/- 4-5%) can be regarded as being normal. Changes in body weight associated with known major changes in life-style - such as increased exercise, or reduced intake of food may also not be significant.
However, weight loss in excess of 10% is likely to be significant and chronic gradual weight loss over a long period OR very rapid weight loss can be extremely important.
Weight loss can be going on for a considerable time before an owner is aware that there is a problem. This is particularly true in two situations :
During weight loss body fat reserves are usually lost first, followed by lean body muscle mass (protein). In some disorders loss of body water is also a significant cause of body weight loss - leading to dehydration.
Visibly, weight loss can be recognised by :
There are several basics causes of weight loss
Increase calorie intake
Correct underlying disorder/disease
Updated October 2013