Dr. Joe Bartges gives lecture on pet obesity

On April 2, Dr. Joe Bartges spoke to MC students about obesity in dogs and cats as part of Maryville College’s American Chemical Society Literacy Series. The event was open to students, faculty, staff and the community.

Bartges, a professor in the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine and father of a MC alumnus, compared the problem of obesity in house pets with that of humans.

“What we’re really talking about is an excessive amount of body fat,” Bartges said.

Bartges stressed the importance of combating pet obesity and said that having too much fat can lead to many of the same health risks in animals that it does in humans.

“With cats, there is a four-fold risk of any cause of death above the age of 10 if they’re obese at 10 years of age,” Bartges said. “With humans, there’s a decrease in life expectancy, too.”

Because of this risk, Bartges provided suggestions for helping owners of obese pets to help their pets safely and effectively lose weight.

Samantha Wilson, a junior English major, said that she was particularly interested in learning how to help her cat reach a healthy body fat percentage. Wilson’s brother, Conner Waye, attended the lecture during a visit to MC, as well. Waye, 14, said that he was glad the presentation was open to both students and the public.

“I learned really awesome techniques for moving my cat’s food around to make him exercise in order to get to his food,” Wilson said. “I thought it was a really good experience for my sister and everyone else involved.”

Sophomore Aerial Carter participated in the event as part of a science class.

“I learned about different way the obesity occurs and how to prevent it,” Carter said. “I think presentations like this are beneficial because we are learning new information and making ourselves aware of real-world issues.”

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