Friday, March 9, 2012

Fatty deposit scan brings it home.

Recently an associate has had some unfortunate medical news, and the need for surgery has been proposed my doctors. Unfortunately this person is quite heavy, and with that comes several health factors. During a previous surgery complications arose, and so surgery at this point could be risky. Weight loss is imperative, might even effect the need for surgery in the first place, but will at minimum make surgery less dangerous.

This scan is of a 250lbs female on the left, and a 120lbs woman on the right.

Shocking right?

I think there is a tendency to imagine that weight, and fat, is carried on the outside of the body. Kind of like a fat suit. A thick covering of extra fat under the skin, but above the "meat."
 As you can see by this scan, the fatty deposits are also inside the cavity of the abdomen, covering intestines and organs. Surrounding organs, like the heart and liver. Just imagine how difficult it would be to do any type of abdominal surgery with all this extra tissue in the way. Not to mention the extra healing time that it takes for fat to heal from incisions. The pressure of that weight increasing tension on intestines and organs.

When I first came across this scan I was in awe. I kept staring at it, and noticing all the different places where fat had altered the form of the body. Look at the bones in the shoulders, the extra tissue of the neck, the strain on hips, knees and ankles. A lifelong weight issue sure would take a toll.

These days there seems to be a lot of overweight children. I see them in my clients homes a lot, and often wonder if the parents even notice and know what the weight is doing to their lifelong health.

There are a lot of fat pets don't you think? Cats and dogs that suffer under the weight with bad health and shortened lifespans. My cats eat only Science Diet cat food. The treats I give them are actually just the same food that I keep a bit of in the kitchen. The fact that I hand feed the treat is what makes it special.

I don't see as many examples of fat horses. (too expensive?) A friend once showed me how fat her horses became through the winter, and although they sure could use a work out, they were not obese by any means. Pippi needs to muscle up a bit this spring. She gained at least 150lbs after we moved her "home" and took over her care ourselves, but she needed it. Now she needs to trail ride, work on getting her muscles and tendons up to par.
One of my great pet peeves is when a human does not do the necessary training to get their horse in physical shape, before plucking them out of the field and making them compete. Training is way more than learning a skill, it is getting in shape to do that skill. And just because your horse was a state champion barrel racer at one point, does not mean that you should make it run barrels at a show, after standing in a stall eating hay all winter. I insist, loudly, that Miranda train Pippi physically as well as technically. (As a matter of fact they are out on a trail ride right now, and Miranda actually dislikes those a lot!!!) Walk hills, do trail riding, bending, and stretching out. Give that horse a thorough work out, follow it up with a slow cool down, and a relaxing massage (with muscle liniment). We go through bottles of liniment each year, and Pippi loves having the "rump muscles" pummeled and the knots worked out. I have lost track of the number of comments we have received in the vein of "wow, that horse is ripped." Pippi is ridden a lot, and we ask a lot from her as a jumper. In return I wish to make her physically able to handle the demand her body goes through. I want her to weigh enough, but not too much, and have the muscles and stamina to perform her tasks easily.

Imagine if we asked the woman on the left to carry 15% of her body weight on her back, and jump a 3ft oxer? Yeah, I didn't think so.


  1. Great post! Overweight pets is one of my pet peeves, especially when it comes to cats. Cats lay down internal fat around their organs like you wouldn't believe!

  2. Wow, interesting scan. That makes me want to work out right now and I'm only ten pounds overweight lol. It adds up quickly which is why I'm working out again. Obesity runs in my family so it's something I have to fight everyday.

    Actually there are a LOT of obese horses out there, but people think fat is normal for horses!! Sure they don't all have to be racehorse thin, but you should be able to see their ribs when they make turns (obviously not through a thick winter coat). Heck I even keep my horses a little too heavy. I try not to with Chrome because he's still growing and that's so hard on his joints. In fact that's why I've put him on an in hand workout schedule (alternating with my workout days).

    I also agree with you about making sure your horse is fit before showing. What a lot of people don't realize is that just because the cardiovascular system can get fit in a month doesn't mean the muscles, tendons and bones do!! It can take four to six months for muscles and a year for tendons (keep in mind I'm spouting this info from memory so I could be off, but it's not by much)!

    Obesity in children and animals bothers me . . . but I don't know what to do about it. People won't admit their kids and pets are fat and when someone is in denial trying to educate them just pisses them off. Anyway, interesting post!!

  3. I was just reading a great book titled "Equine Fitness" yesterday planning how I was going to get Notch (my QH gelding) back into shape this spring after having the winter off.


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