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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you recall some of the other threads I've started in the last 12 months, you know that I've been working to manage Mia's pain from osteoarthritis. We started with Gabapentin and added Carprofen (Rimadyl), gradually increasing the doses until she seemed comfortable. Just in the last month or so, we've gotten to a level where she's really 100%, acting like a puppy and full of poodle sass. I'm grateful for the pandemic in a way, because the increased time together gave me opportunity to see the changes and treat her more effectively. Looking back, I wonder if she was in pain longer than I realized.

One of the likely benefits of treating her pain is that over the last two months she lost four pounds and is back to the weight she was most of her adult life. On the one hand, this makes sense: she feels better and moves more easily, thus moves more and is more active, leading to weight loss. However, for the last two years I've been cutting back her food to help her lose this weight, with little success.

I wonder if there's more of a connection here than I first realized. Was her weight gain an early symptom of pain that I didn't recognize? Was it a clue when she didn't lose a significant amount of weight even when I reduced her food intake? Has anyone here experienced something similar?
 

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If you're spending more time together is that another reason that she's been more active?

Dogs on their own usually sleep a lot. Dogs with humans at home have supervisory duties.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you're spending more time together is that another reason that she's been more active?
I don't think this is the cause. I started WFH last year at the end of February, and for the first 10 months there was no weight loss. At the end of December she weighed 60 lbs and now weighs 56 lbs, so the weight loss is recent.
 

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Certainly moving around more, because she feels better, would contribute to weight loss. Of course, a bit of weight loss would also help with the arthritis.

Keep an eye on the weight loss, however. Pogo lost a lot of weight in his final six months due to his cancer: partly because he ate less, partly because the cancer itself interfered with his digestive tract's ability to absorb nutrients. I've also had several cats develop thyroid problems as they age.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reminder. A friend lost her spoo at 11 years old from cancer, and there were months of what in hindsight were warning signs.
 

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Diego is a chow/abpt/lab mix, but has always been tall and skinny. I have noticed since starting galliprant for his osteoarthritis, he’s not as thin as before. He still wouldn’t be overweight on the vet charts, but he looks more “lab” shaped than he ever has. He’ll be 14 in May. I don’t know what he weighs, but he’s always been right around 47-50 lbs.
 
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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I can see how reducing inflammation might help excess weight come off more easily.

Gracie developed a pot belly with Cushing’s disease. It was amazing to me (and rather exhausting) how many strangers boldly commented on her weight.
 

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My guess is that it is a combination of relief from chronic pain that had been going on longer than you realized, plus reducing overall inflammation like PtP said.
And related to that, perhaps less restful sleep due to discomfort can increase weight, just like in people.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If we're agreed on this, then can stubborn weight gain be used to diagnose pain? I think back to a dog I fostered many years ago who needed to lose a few pounds -- and he was a mini! He was poorly bred and who knows what he had gone through in life. No matter how much I reduced his food, he didn't lose an ounce. I wonder now if he was enduring some undiagnosed pain.
 

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If we're agreed on this, then can stubborn weight gain be used to diagnose pain? I think back to a dog I fostered many years ago who needed to lose a few pounds -- and he was a mini! He was poorly bred and who knows what he had gone through in life. No matter how much I reduced his food, he didn't lose an ounce. I wonder now if he was enduring some undiagnosed pain.
That is a really interesting idea.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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If we're agreed on this, then can stubborn weight gain be used to diagnose pain? I think back to a dog I fostered many years ago who needed to lose a few pounds -- and he was a mini! He was poorly bred and who knows what he had gone through in life. No matter how much I reduced his food, he didn't lose an ounce. I wonder now if he was enduring some undiagnosed pain.
I think excess weight can both cause pain and indicate pain. The “stubbornness” part can definitely point to potentially painful, underlying conditions, but also it’s hard to shed pounds when you’re in too much pain to be active.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't mean it as a 1:1; of course it's a cycle. But perhaps in situations where there is stubborn weight gain that doesn't respond to decreased food or increased activity, we can investigate whether there is an underlying condition causing pain. When our dogs are stoic, weight change (or not) is more readily measurable and therefore identifiable than other signs.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I don't mean it as a 1:1; of course it's a cycle. But perhaps in situations where there is stubborn weight gain that doesn't respond to decreased food or increased activity, we can investigate whether there is an underlying condition causing pain. When our dogs are stoic, weight change (or not) is more readily measurable and therefore identifiable than other signs.
I agree 100%. Rather than reducing calories further and further, investigation is warranted. It’s of course trickier with a dog who can’t speak, but weight bias is alive and well in human medicine, and it sometimes leads to serious conditions getting missed. I wonder how many of those conditions, if addressed, would cause the pounds to melt off—both humans and canines.

I bet vets sometimes think “sure, sure” when owners swear up and down they’re exercising their dog and restricting calories.
 

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If we're agreed on this, then can stubborn weight gain be used to diagnose pain? I think back to a dog I fostered many years ago who needed to lose a few pounds -- and he was a mini! He was poorly bred and who knows what he had gone through in life. No matter how much I reduced his food, he didn't lose an ounce. I wonder now if he was enduring some undiagnosed pain.
I think that would depend on the dog. It’s also possible that pain could cause decreased appetite and weight loss.
 
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