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Pets weigh in for slimming contest

Dogs, cats and rabbits collectively carrying around 30 stone in weight are set to take part in an annual pet slimming competition.

The line-up of 13 dogs, five cats and three rabbits will all be hoping to shed the pounds in the six-month diet and exercise programme as part of the Pet Fit Club by veterinary charity the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) .

The gargantuan group includes hefty hound Mizzy, the Bullmastiff, and flabby feline, Ulric - the two biggest-ever finalists in the competition which has been running for almost 10 years.

The combined weight of Mizzy and Ulric is 13 stone 4lbs (about 84kg).

Tom cat Ulric, from Dorset, weighs in at two stone (12.65kg) - 111% over his ideal weight, and Mizzy, from Derby, tips the scales at 11 stone 4lbs (72kg), making her around 60% overweight.

Other pets battling the bulge include sweet-and-sour-chicken-loving Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Beetlejuice, (seven stone/44kg and 48% overweight) from London, Labrador Tia, from Birmingham, who weighs over nine stone (58.2kg - 94% overweight), and ice-cream-loving tom cat Prince, who is 44% overweight (7.2kg/1st 2lbs).

The fat fighters are all competing for the title of PDSA Pet Fit Club slimmer of the year, and they all fall into the category of obese or morbidly obese.

Elaine Pendlebury, PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, said: "Obesity is one of the biggest welfare issues affecting pets in the UK today - and it is entirely preventable.

"Sadly, it also means daily misery for millions of pets who are feeling the strain from carrying too much weight. "The owners of the pets in this year's competition are taking the vital first step towards a healthy new future for their animals.

"This helps reduce the likelihood of an early grave due to obesity and its related health issues. The good news is that it's never too late to make a positive change to improve a pet's quality of life."

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