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Study Finds Gene Mutation Makes Labradors Prone to Obesity

Labrador Retrievers have long been labelled greedy. It always seems as though this breed’s stomach is a bottomless pit. If you’ve ever wondered what’s the deal with Labradors and their insane appetite, a new scientific study has revealed why Labs are constantly hungry and at a higher risk of obesity than any other breed.

Are Labrador Retrievers more prone to canine obesity? Scientists uncover genetic mutation suggesting why

As per The Guardian, Labrador Retrievers are genetically predisposed to become obese because of a rare genetic mutation they have.

Unlike other dog breeds, most Labradors and Flat-Coated Retrievers have a gene known as Proopiomelanocortin (POMC), which is associated with heightened appetite and body weight regulation. This gene, also found in humans, often makes Labradors feel constantly hungry.

Interestingly, some Labradors have two copies of the POMC gene, others one copy, and some don’t have it.

Furthermore, this gene affects their body’s ability to burn more calories. Therefore, most of the unused calories are stored as fat. For this reason, Labradors are more likely to become overweight within a short time compared to other breeds.

Scientists from the University of Cambridge, led by Dr Eleanor Raffan, carried out a study linking the Labrador’s high food motivation to the POMC gene.

Over 80 Labradors participated in the study, according to BBC News. The canines underwent various tests, one of them being the “sausage in a box” test.

In this test, the researchers first fed the dogs a standard breakfast meal. Afterward, they placed a sausage in a transparent box which had a proliferated lid to make it easy for the dogs to smell and see the sausage. According to Dr Raffan, “dogs with the mutation were just fixated on the sausage. ” This suggested that Labradors often feel hungrier than other dogs in between meals.

Due to this gene mutation, Labrador owners should be strict when it comes to feeding their canines. Additionally, it’s advisable for these owners to prioritize exercising their dogs consistently.


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