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FDA Approves the First Drug for Obese Dogs with Help from the University of Tennessee

January 12, 2007

The FDA recently announced the approval of Slentrol (dirlotapide), a prescription drug indicated for the management of obesity in dogs. Slentrol reportedly reduces appetite and fat absorption to produce weight loss.

The drug is a new chemical entity, called a selective microsomal triglyceride transfer protein inhibitor, which blocks the assembly and release of lipoproteins into the bloodstream from the intestines.

The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine was one of 4 university test sites. Dr. Claudia Kirk and Dr. Joe Bartges were the study investigators and treated 17 dogs for up to 6 months with Slentrol or a placebo. Dogs on Slentrol lost weight without changing their regular dog food or activity. The drug reduces dogs' appetite and fewer calories are consumed. When using Slentrol, consumers will still need to provide a high quality balanced dog food. Feeding excessive treats or table foods will unbalance the diet and can sabotage weight loss efforts. While generally mild, adverse reactions associated with Slentrol treatment included occasional vomiting, loose stools, lethargy and decreased of appetite. Slentrol should not be used in people or cats.

The new drug will not be commercially available until later this Spring. Until then, there are several things owners can do to help their pet maintain a healthy weight. The first step in weight control is to provide a high quality food in the correct proportions coupled with regular daily exercise. For pet owners that need help determining their pets ideal weight or are interested in a weight loss plan for their pet, they should visit their veterinarian or the Veterinary Nutrition Service at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Research shows that being overweight affects the overall health and well-being of dogs and cats by predisposing them to several serious diseases. Being overweight or obese has been associated with increased risk of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory conditions, cancer, and urinary disorders. Pudgy pets are no laughing matter!

Sandra Harbison
Media Relations
UT College of Veterinary Medicine

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