This is Mabel the Beagle and she is fat. Weighing in at a whopping 67 pounds. Almost three times her ideal size.
"She was really sad. I mean she was pitiful, and definitely the fattest dog I had ever seen."
Dr. Angela Witzel first met Mabel back in January when her owners left her at an animal shelter in Knoxville because she was too big for them to care for. The shelter brought her to UT's Veterinary Medical Center where it was love at first site for this veterinary nutritionist.
"I saw her when she came in, and about an hour later i was starting the adoption process"
Once the papers were signed, Dr. Witzel enrolled Mabel in UT's canine fat camp.
"I just thought this is perfect you know. I can help her, she can help me, and we can kind of do this together."
the animals here walk their weight off on underwater treadmills. Doctors limit their calories and test for disease and hypertension, common risks for fat pets.
"Kinda all the problems that we see with people with obesity, dogs and cats have the same issues."
The treadmill is working. In just six months, Mabel's gone from 67 pounds, to this. She's lost almost 30 pounds. Her mom said she is up and around all the time now. She has a facebook page with around 1,000 friends. She celebrated Mardi Gras in a parade and even paid tribute to donna summer when she passed away. This workout video, set to she works hard for the money. All the ut veterinarians are involved in Mabel's recovery.
"Rehabilitation has multiple multiple benefits. It can enrich the lives of our canine companions by maybe helping weight loss to reduce the wear and tear and stress and strain on joints."
"Some dogs and cats are really good about kind of pushing the plate away and saying, 'no I'm full and I'm good.' and then others aren't so good."
Since Mabel is a beagle mix, doctors say she's predisposed to a large appetite. Here her diet is regulated and there are absolutely no table scraps. With all the weight loss, a tummy tuck may be the next step.
"Mabel does have a lot of really loose skin right now, so it's hard for me to tell what's going to happen there until we get her to lose all of the weight."
Mabel has about 15 pounds still to go.
Mabel's ideal body weight is 23 pounds.
WMC, WBIR via CNN Newssource