New research has shown that the gene for a brain peptide, pro-opiomelanocortin, may affect both appetite and metabolism in dogs. A truncated version of the gene is present in Labrador Retrievers that are prone to weight gain and intensely focused on food. Similar effects of the gene have also been found in some obese human patients. Further work on the canine gene may help shed light on the genetic basis for weight gain in both dogs and people and point the way toward new kinds of treatments.
Read more about the genetics of canine obesity in the New York Times.Learn more about obesity in dogs and cats in the Merck Veterinary Manual.