Mabel the Beagle loses nearly half of her body weight - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mabel the Beagle loses nearly half of her body weight

Mabel the Beagle before her fat camp transformation Mabel the Beagle before her fat camp transformation

(WMC-TV) – More than 35 million dogs in the United States are considered overweight. Did you know that dogs can also be considered clinically obese? It is nothing that doggy fat camp can't cure.

Mabel the Beagle is one fat pup. She weighed a whopping 67 pounds. That is almost three times her ideal size.

Dr. Angela Witzel, UT Veterinary Nutritionist, first met Mabel in January when her owners left her at an animal shelter in Knoxville because she was too big for them to care for.

"She was really sad," Witzel said. "She was pitiful, and definitely the fattest dog I've ever seen."

The shelter brought her to UT's Veterinary Medical Center where it was love at first site for Witzel.

"I saw her when she came in, and in about an hour later I was starting the adoption process," said Witzel.

Once the papers were signed, Witzel enrolled Mabel in UT's canine fat camp.

"I thought this is perfect," she said.  "I can help her, she can help me, and we can do this together."

The animals at the fat camp walk their weight off on underwater treadmills. Doctors limit their calories while testing for disease and hypertension, which are common risks for fat pets.

"Kinda all the problems we see with people with obesity, dogs and cats have the same issues," said Dr. Witzel.

The treadmill worked. In just six months, Mabel went from 67 pounds to almost half of her original weight. She lost almost 30 pounds.

Her mom said she is up and around all the time now. She even 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.

All the UT veterinarians are involved in Mabel's transformation.

"Rehabilitation has multiple benefits and can enrich the lives of our canine companions by weight loss to reduce the wear and tear and stress and strain on joints," said UT Veterinary Canine Rehab Specialist Dr. Marti Drum.

"Some dogs and cats are really good about pushing the plate away and saying, ‘I'm good.' and others aren't so good,'" said Dr. Witzel.

Since Mabel is a Beagle mix, doctors say she is predisposed to a large appetite.

At fat camp, her diet was regulated and there were 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 kind of hard for me to tell what's going to happen there until we get her to lose all of her weight," said Dr. Witzel.

Mabel has about 15 pounds still to go to reach her healthy body weight of 23 pounds.

Fat pets run the risk of urinary tract disease, hypertension, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease and more.

Vets at UT said the most important thing for pets, like humans, is a healthy diet and proper exercise.

You can follow Mabel's weight loss transformation by befriending her on Facebook, click here.

View Mabel's before and after photos.

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