Obesity FAQ

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Thanks to a grant by Royal Canin, there is no cost for pet owners for our standard weight loss program. 

At the initial visit you will meet with a UTCVM Veterinary Obesity Center Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist® and Tammy Moyers. We will examine your pet and perform routine bloodwork including a complete blood count (CBC), chemistry panel, thyroid level, and urinalysis. If your pet is healthy enough for sedation, we measure lean and fat mass using Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA). We will then develop a personalized weight loss plan based on your pet and household needs. 

After the initial assessment you will return at regular intervals (typically every 4 weeks) to monitor your pet’s progress.

Once a healthy weight is achieved, we will repeat the tests from the first visit and discuss a long-term weight management plan.

Enrollment into the Veterinary Obesity Center is by referral only. If you are interested in our program, please have your veterinarian complete the referral form and send it to the email address: utvoc@utk.edu 

Physical therapy services are not included as part of the weight loss program, but we can work to coordinate weight rechecks with your visits to the UTCVM Physical Therapy Service.

We typically recommend therapeutic weight loss diets to ensure patients receive optimal nutrition while undergoing calorie restriction. Royal Canin will provide food for pet owners who choose their brand of products. Should a pet owner prefer to use a different brand, the cost will not be covered by the Center.

While we strive to provide encouragement and help throughout your pet’s weight loss plan, you can stop the program at any time.

Our board-certified veterinary nutritionists are experienced at managing complex disease conditions. However, some conditions are beyond the scope of the Veterinary Obesity Center and may be better managed through a referral to the UTCVM Veterinary Nutrition Service (additional fees apply). Please contact us if you aren’t sure if your pet’s medical issues will prevent enrollment into the obesity center.

General practice veterinarians can successfully manage weight loss programs. However, our team is experienced in managing the most challenging cases, and we can provide the communication, support, and troubleshooting that may be difficult for busy veterinary practices to maintain.

The initial visit must occur in person. Telemedicine may be an option to reduce the frequency of in-person recheck visits for patients who are stressed at the vet’s office or live far away.

Developing a balanced homemade diet to manage obesity is beyond the scope of the Veterinary Obesity Center, but can be accomplished through a referral to our UTCVM Veterinary Nutrition Service (additional fees apply). We are unable to provide a weight loss program using a homemade diet recipe that has been formulated elsewhere.

UTCVM has a thriving nutrition service that can provide remote or in-person consultations to manage a variety of conditions. Please visit our Veterinary Nutrition Service for more information.