The FDA says the drug, to be dispensed only by veterinarians, reduces appetite and fat absorption to produce weight loss.
"This is a welcome addition to animal therapies, because dog obesity appears to be increasing," said Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "Veterinarians are well aware that overweight pets are at a higher risk of developing various health problems, from cardiovascular conditions to diabetes to joint problems."
Veterinarians generally define a dog that weighs 20 percent more than its ideal weight as obese. Surveys have found approximately 5 percent of dogs in the United States are obese, and another 20 percent to 30 percent are overweight.
Slentrol is a new chemical entity called a selective microsomal triglyceride transfer protein inhibitor, which blocks the assembly and release of lipoproteins into the bloodstream. The mechanism for producing weight loss is not completely understood, but seems to result from reduced fat absorption and a satiety signal from lipid-filled cells lining the intestine.
The drug is manufactured by Pfizer Inc.