Dog on a Diet: Ray Ray's weight loss journey

How To Help Ray Ray:
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April 10, 2017 update: Ray Ray passed away surrounded by our staff. Read the full post here.

April 3, 2017 - You can tell just by looking at Ray Ray that he is not in tiptop shape. He is morbidly obese. His condition is so severe that his life depends on him going on a diet. At eight years old and more than 90 pounds, he can barely stand up. He is one of the many reasons we are asking you to walk in this year's SPCA K93K Dog Walk and Woofstock April 29th. We are walking because Ray Ray can' least not right now.

Ray Ray was first adopted as a puppy from Wake County Animal Control. Somebody recently found him in Wake Forest, gave him a place to stay for three weeks and then took him to a veterinarian to ask about euthanizing him. The vet instead suggested the person take Ray Ray to Wake County Animal Control. The shelter tried to reach Ray Ray's original adopter, but the phone number was disconnected.

Due to his health, Ray Ray was marked as "rescue only." The SPCA of Wake County took him in March 14, 2017 to help him start his weight loss journey and keep him from possible euthanasia.

Ray Ray is eight years old and weighed 92 pounds March 11th. Just how bad is his condition? A dog his size should ideally weigh more than half of that, closer to 40 pounds.

"This is absolutely a lethal condition. He cannot gain weight," explains the SPCA staff veterinarian.  "I wish we could prosecute someone for this."

Ray Ray's weight loss plan

We're starting with baby steps. Ray Ray's exercise plan includes coaxing him to stand-up three to four times a day and attempting to take a few steps. Seriously. That's it. The amount of weight on his frame puts a lot of pressure on his joints and that's all he can handle right now. He is also on pain meds to help with the pressure on his joints. The staff strictly monitors Ray Ray's prescription food servings. He only receives treats if they are used to give him his medicine. The staff then has to "subtract some kibble from his meals to balance the calories of that," explains Kat Magee, SPCA Holding Center Manager.

Staff encourage Ray Ray to stand up as part of his daily exercise program

Ray Ray's size prevents him from gaining enough traction to stand-up on the flat concrete floor of the Holding Center, so a volunteer donated mats for him to help stand up. Our staff also makes sure he has lots of soft bedding to help prevent the development of pressure sores. The staff uses a cart to wheel him to the scale and out to the play yards for him to enjoy from fresh air.

Ray Ray also was found with overgrown nails. One was so bad it curved around and started growing into his foot pad. He is on medicine to treat a cough that is most likely caused by his obesity.

Preventing Animal Cruelty

The SPCA was able to run tests to determine that Ray Ray does have hypothyroidism.  This condition alone though is still not enough to cause him to be this bad off.  It would still take over-feeding or giving a dog unhealthy food to cause this type of weight gain.  The long-term neglect of Ray Ray's health and disregard for his well-being has lead to pain and suffering. The SPCA of Wake County is determined to help Ray Ray heal from this type of animal cruelty and keep it from happening to other pets. You can help us!

Register today for the 2017 SPCA of Wake County K93K Dog Walk and Woofstock. This fundraising event and walk helps us continue the work we do to save and re-home more than 3,000 animals each year. This year, the SPCA is celebrating 50 years of helping pets and people and we're just getting started! Register here to walk with us April 29th.

Follow along as we track Ray Ray's weight loss journey here on the SPCA of Wake County blog and Facebook page.


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