Is your corgi overweight?? Take a second look!!!

Let me first start by saying... our Soffie is a tall girl and quite a bit larger boned than our Griffyn and weighs in at 38lbs. 3 weeks ago Soffie pulled up lame on her hind left leg. This following a full tilt run across the front yard. Hard to know exactly how the injury actually occured but.... the end result was a torn cruciate ligament. We had an appointment this past monday with an orthopedic surgeon (believe me we had already done so much research on this injury!! Pros / cons to surgery. Pros / cons to controlled maintenance) And here is a direct quote from the surgeon report and the very first thing listed on the Surgeons recommendations for Soffie's recovery.

"Soffie presented to the FVRC for evaluation of a left hind limb lameness. Her general physical exam was unremarkable, except she is moderately overweight. The orthopedic exam showed effusion (increased joint fluid) in both knees, but only the left knee was painful. There was no instability elicited. We suspect that Soffie has a partial tear of the left cranial cruciate ligament. Although surgery is an option, it is reasonable to give her time to see if the lameness progresses.

1. Weight loss is the most important aspect of treatment. You should be able to easily feel the ribs when you pet her and she should have a visible waist when viewed from above. Begin by decreasing her food intake by 20%. If you would like to offer treats, please use rice cakes, carrots, or take kibble from the measured meal. She should be weighed in 2 weeks to assess progress. If she is not losing weight, then decrease intake by an additional 10%" (end of quote from surgeon)

Soffie's prognosis is the same with or without surgery. Arthritis!!! And she is only 3years 7 mos!!! And there are signs she will have problems with her right hind leg too! And her weight is the largest contributing factor!!

We're dealing with what we have to do now. And that is keeping her totally restricted. We have a pen in the house to keep her in a small confined area. At night she sleeps in her crate. (I miss her in bed with me!) We bought a ramp because she cannot do even 2 stairs out to the back yard! No walks! Out on a leash only for potty breaks! No jumping, no running, no sudden movements. No swimming ( until after her recheck in 4 weeks) imagine how hard that is going to be for my little swimmer when we're on vacation next week at the lake in Maine.

Anyway.... bottom line. Would we have been more diligent about her weight had we understood the consequences??? The answer is an emphatic YES!

We really didn't think Soffie was overweight because of her height! We were wrong! And I hope any and all of you out there that read this post will take heed and do what is right for your beloved corgis!!

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Comment by Leasa on December 31, 2009 at 8:35pm
Thanks for the shout outs for new years & christmas! is soffie arthritis any better? how is soffie doing on her diet? the decreased activity is a double wammy cause it is the best way for her to shed some pounds. I preach to everyone who gets a pup or has a corgi to keep a tummy tuck and hourglass torso even though it is so hard as they require such little kibble and they beg so sweetly!!!
Comment by Bev Levy on August 12, 2009 at 8:22pm
That is such a shame! However, Beth is right, while weight contributes to this knee problem , it is not the only cause. There is a lot of research being done to try to determine why some dogs have this and others don't. Sparty partially tore his CL but was not overweight. However, you are completely right that we have to take the responsibility for our dog's health to keep their weight down. It will give them the best chance of living a long happy life. I finally cut out a few articles about it to convince my husband that he was doing ours no favors.
We have had to restrict Sparty's activities for several years now. Fortunately, not as much as at first, and he is doing very well. Sadly, it means he can no longer herd a soccer ball like he used to but we have found other ways to engage him that don't require a lot of stops and starts. At ten, he is a pretty happy healthy guy in spite of his limitations. I hope Soffie does well too.
Comment by Beth on August 12, 2009 at 6:30pm
Poor Soffie! It is very difficult to judge the weight of a Corgi; between their barrel chests and their short legs, it can be tough to tell if the waist is there or not. The vet is right about how they "should" look, but again it's subjective and hard to judge. Another thing is that a properly weighted Corgi should have a slight hollow area immediately behind her rib cage. This is very hard to tell when the dog is in full winter coat; easier to see in summer coat or if the dog is wet.

If you go on dogfood websites, you will see many of them list calorie counts. When Jack needed to lose weight, we found a food that was only 341 calories per cup and still had a meat protein (lamb meal) as the first ingredient. The food he was on before was 426 calories per cup. So we cut out around 80 calories, nearly 20 percent, just with a food switch. Canned pumpkin has only about 80 calories per cup and is a great add-in. Plain nonfat yogurt has about 80 calories for 6 ounces and is also good. Green beans have hardly any calories, but if fed in large quantity our dog gets loose stools.

Charlie Bear makes 3 calorie treats too.

I hope Soffie does well! Please realize, too, that one of the first instructions for people as well as dogs with arthritis is to lose weight; it does not necessarily mean that Soffie's weight caused the arthritis (some are just prone to it), but that because of bad joints, she should now not carry any extra weight, and perhaps she should be on the thin side.

Best of luck! With such restricted activity, unfortunately you'll probably find you need to cut her food back very dramatically. :-( Tough for a Corgi, I know.

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