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Weight Loss and Wasting (Cachexia) in dogs and cats

Weight loss is defined as a decrease in total body weight. It may be a desired, normal goal of dieting in overweight animals or it may be the abnormal result of a medical problem. If weight loss is related to a medical problem, it is a sign of disease. Weight loss (as a medical problem) is considered important when it exceeds 10% of the normal body weight and it is not associated with fluid loss. Cachexia is defined as wasting, a state of extremely poor health. Cachexia is associated with loss of appetite (anorexia), severe weight loss, muscle wasting, weakness, and mental depression.

Additional information

Weight loss is considered clinically important when it exceeds 10% of the normal body weight and is not associated with bodily fluid loss. Cachexia is defined as the state of extreme poor health and is associated with anorexia, weight loss, weakness, and mental depression.

Weight loss can result from many different pathophysiologic mechanisms, but they all share the common feature: insufficient caloric intake or availability to meet metabolic needs. This can be caused by high energy demand such as that characteristic of a hypermetabolic state; inadequate energy intake including insufficient quantity or quality of food; inadequate nutrient assimilation as in patients with anorexia, dysphagia, regurgitation, and malassimilation disorders; and excessive loss of nutrients or fluid, which can occur in patients with glucosuria, proteinuria, or dehydration.

Systems Affected
Any body system can be affected by weight loss, especially if severe or the result of systemic disease.
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