Content continues after advertisement

Muscle Loss, Debilitating Disease, & Growing Old

Clinician's Brief (Capsule)

Internal Medicine

|June 2012

Sign in to Print/View PDF

Cachexia (loss of lean body mass [LBM] in the face of chronic debilitating disease) and sarcopenia (loss of LBM in a normal aging patient without concurrent illness) are associated with high mortality and morbidity in humans, and veterinary studies are beginning to document similar trends. In certain disease states, alterations in various mediators (eg, insulin) decrease the body’s ability to make metabolic adaptations required to switch to fat utilization, causing muscle and LBM to be catabolized.

This retrospective study in dogs with chronic kidney disease showed that dogs classified as underweight had significantly shorter survival time as compared with both moderate and overweight dogs. This finding suggests that, as with humans, renal cachexia may affect survival time.

In humans, sarcopenia usually begins with muscle loss around the age of 30 and progresses throughout life. To date, sarcopenia has been documented in veterinary medicine but differences in pathophysiologic mechanisms have not been found between healthy young and healthy geriatric dogs. It is unclear how sarcopenia affects prognosis. As cachexia and sarcopenia are further studied, dietary and exercise recommendations may evolve to minimize the signs associated with them.

Commentary
In humans, cachexia is associated with poor appetite, fatigue, muscle atrophy, and weakness. Veterinarians may be overlooking the importance of these signs in hospice or palliative care patients, and often such measures as formulating dietary plans to increase the patient’s metabolic rate and encouraging supplementation with essential fatty acids need to be addressed. Exercise also is important
in delaying the breakdown of muscle, although walking may be difficult for some of these patients. By understanding these conditions, however, practitioners can provide better care to affected patients. —Heather Troyer, DVM, DABVP, CVA


Source
Cachexia and sarcopenia: Emerging syndromes of importance in dogs and cats. Freeman LM. J VET INTERN MED 26:3-17, 2012.


 

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

All Clinician's Brief content is reviewed for accuracy at the time of publication. Previously published content may not reflect recent developments in research and practice.

Material from Clinician's Brief may not be reproduced, distributed, or used in whole or in part without prior permission of Educational Concepts, LLC. For questions or inquiries please contact us.

Podcasts

Clinician's Brief:
The Podcast
Listen as host Alyssa Watson, DVM, talks with the authors of your favorite Clinician’s Brief articles. Dig deeper and explore the conversations behind the content here.
Clinician's Brief provides relevant diagnostic and treatment information for small animal practitioners. It has been ranked the #1 most essential publication by small animal veterinarians for 9 years.*

*2007-2017 PERQ and Essential Media Studies

© 2023 Educational Concepts, L.L.C. dba Brief Media ™ All Rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions | DMCA Copyright | Privacy Policy | Acceptable Use Policy