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A veterinary nurse from Middlewich has scooped a double award for helping obese pets fight the flab.
Katie Hartnoll, head veterinary nurse at Abbeycroft Veterinary Centre in Northwich, which is part of the independently-owned Willows Veterinary Group, will head to a glittering awards ceremony in Kidderminster later this month to receive her trophies.
The overall winner will also be revealed at the event on March 15, being held at Hogarths Stone Manor, which will bag the winning veterinary nurse and the pet owner £1,000 worth of holiday vouchers.
The annual Healthy Weight Competition, run by Royal Canin pet food manufacturers, was set up to reward veterinary staff and pet owners for the journey they take together to overcome their beloved pet’s battle with the bulge.
Just like humans, obesity in animals is linked to a shorter lifespan and a variety of health problems including diabetes, arthritis, heart and respiratory diseases.
Hartnoll, a mum-of-two from Middlewich who has heard of owners feeding Chinese takeaway, breakfast bowls of milk and even cream cakes to their much-adored pets, claimed victory in two of the six categories with two of her most successful cases to date.
The 32-year-old, who has a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Rhia, led the team to set up Cheshire’s first weight management centre for pets at Abbeycroft in Station Road and has since helped 77 dogs and 26 cats embark on their fat fighting challenge.
The scheme is sponsored by Royal Canin and staff underwent an intensive three months of advanced training and assessment in pet body condition scoring and nutrition to gain approval for the centre.
Hartnoll, who holds a certificate in Canine and Feline Veterinary Health Nutrition, said: “I was really happy when they rang to say I had won two awards and I wasn’t just happy for myself, but for the animals and owners who have won too.
“We have been on this journey together and gone through the ups and down of it all with one another. I could not even have thought of entering these awards if it wasn’t for the commitment and hard work of the owners and it is a fantastic ‘well done’ for all of us.
“What these owners do for their pets by helping them slim down is life changing. It’s wonderful to see the change in their pets as the weight starts to come off. Not only are they fitter and healthier in themselves but they are often visibly happier in their character too.”
In the Best Before and After Photos category, Hartnoll won with 11-year-old Jack Russell Tiger-Lily who shed an astonishing 3.8 kg in weight, almost 40 per cent of her body weight, over a seven month period after she was clinically diagnosed as obese.
Hartnoll, who has been a veterinary nurse for 14 years, also gained success with fellow Jack Russell, 10-year-old Sebastian in the Best Long-term Weight Management category.
Sebastian, who was also in the obese bracket, shed almost two kilos, amounting to 15 per cent of his body weight which he has now maintained for more than a year.
Both winning owners will receive a free pet photoshoot or portrait as part of their category prize.