Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Weight loss: overview

Contributor(s): Kenneth Marcella, Graham Munroe, Carla Sommardahl

Introduction

  • Gradual loss of bodyweight over several weeks.
  • Constant bodyweight maintenance depends on a balance between nutrient intake (food/water) and output (feces, urine, sweat + metabolism, including maintenance and work).
  • Weight loss occurs when the output of nutrients exceeds the input.
  • May result from decreased fat or muscle mass (seen in inactive horses that were previously in work), gastrointestinal contents and/or total body water.
  • A symptom of many clinical conditions affecting any of the main body systems.
  • Loss of muscle mass in inactive animals that were previously in work.
  • Can affect any age/breeds-pages/sex although some causal conditions are more prevalent in some groups, eg neoplasia in older animals, poor dentition in older animals, gastrointestinal parasites in younger animals.

Print off the Owner factsheets on Body condition scoring and Weight loss to give to your clients.

Pathophysiology

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Differential diagnosis

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Differential diagnostic procedures

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Treatment

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Prognosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Recent references fromPubMed.
  • Metcalfe L V A, More S J, Duggan V & Katz L M (2013)A retrospective study of horses investigated for weight loss despite a good appetite (2002-2011). Equine Vet J45(3), 340-345PubMed.
  • Tamzali Y (2006)Chronic weight loss syndrome in the horse: a 60 case retrospective study. Equine Vet Educ18(6), 289-287.
  • Knottenbelt D (2003)A rational clinical approach to chronic weight loss in horses. NI Vet Today.

Other sources of information

  • Brown C M & Bertone J J (2002)The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult Equine.Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
  • Mair T, Divers T & Ducharme N (2002)Manual of Equine Gastroenterology. W B Saunders.


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