Obesity and exercise intolerance

Exercise intolerance and respiratory disorders including collapsing trachea

The obese pet has a good few centimetres of fat forming a constricting jacket around the chest. This makes the pet less able to take deep breaths as more work is required to move the respiratory muscles. Areas of the lung cannot fully inflate, so coughing results. There may also be increased ‘visceral fat’ around the abdominal organs which puts pressure on the diaphragm and makes it hard for the lungs to fully expand. The pet also overheats more easily due to excessive insulation, and reduced ability to lose body heat through panting. Some animals suffer from tracheal collapse, due to increased negative pressure to draw air into the lungs, and also excessive fat around the neck area. Many cases of tracheal collapse can be managed with only weight loss.