Pfizer, which won approval for its drug Slentrol, says it will be available by prescription this spring. According to an article in USA Today, the company estimates that 40% of American dogs, or 17 million canines, are obese or overweight.
Same as with people, too much junk food and a sedentary lifestyle are exacerbating the obesity rate for our pals. Slentrol will only be available by prescription. Ideally, it will be used in only the most extreme cases in order for the pet to lose enough weight to comfortably participate in an exercise regimen, that, together with a diet of low fat/ high protein food, could help the dog regain quality of life.
According to Slentrol’s website, side effects include vomiting, especially during the first month of treatment and when the dose is increased, some dogs may seem tired, have diarrhea, or lose their appetite completely. Other side effects can include increases in your dog’s liver enzymes. These changes can only be found through blood testing. Yikes.Pfizer Animal Health has created a tool to asses if dogs are overweight or obese. The Body Assessment Rating for Canines BARC is meant to determine if Slentrol is a good solution for your dog.
Pfizer is also planning on drumming up business by sponsoring free screenings at veterinarians across the USA in the first annual Canine Weight Check this February.
I have to wonder if vets will push natural weight loss through exercise and diet before prescribing the drug. Despite the risks of side effects, this is likely to be viewed as a quick fix and a cure all by owners. Slentrol’s website and dosing directions include portion control and exercise as a part of treatment, however, unless this issue is addressed before our vets whip out the prescription pad, people will likely rely on the drug rather then lifestyle choices to fix the problem.