Prof Alex German BVSc PhD CertSAM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS

Professor of Small Animal Medicine Musculoskeletal Biology I


Comparative obesity biology

I have combined fundamental studies in adipose tissue biology, epidemiology, and clinical studies undertaken using data acquired at an "Obesity Clinic" I run within the Small Animal Teaching Hospital. This clinic has pioneered developments in diagnosis and treatment of obesity-related disorders in companion animals to improve understanding and management of this important disease. Notable achievements include:
• Establishment of an "Obesity Clinic" for dogs and cats at the University's Small Animal Teaching Hospital, the first of its kind in the world. Through relevant clinical research (>30 manuscripts), we have pioneered developments in diagnosis and treatment of obesity-related disorders in companion animals, and changed clinical practice. We have demonstrated the improvements that weight management can bring, especially regarding quality of life whilst, and defined key outcomes for success. We have also demonstrated the need for lifelong management to minimise rebound.
• Key research demonstrating the role played by inflammatory adipokines in health and disease of dogs.
• Part of an international team that identified a gene associated with appetite and weight gain in obese-prone Labrador retrievers.
• Research identifying that show dogs are frequently overweight.
• The discovery of seasonal differences in food intake in domestic cats.
• First study to identify early weight gain as a risk factor for future obesity in cats

Ageing in cats

In early 2017, we established an outpatient clinic for senior cats, which enrols cats when they enter their senior years (7 years onwards), and then monitors them periodically throughout their senior years. In time, this project will generate a large body of data about the current health and wellbeing of ageing cats, and a ‘bio-bank’ (a bank of frozen clinical samples including blood, urine and faeces) from a cohort of well-phenotyped senior cases.

Research Grants
  • The Royal Canin Wellness Clinic for Senior Cats - An initiative to promote the health of older cats
  • Contact-network studies between dogs, and between dogs and humans.
  • Metabolic Profiling of Dogs with Portovascular Anomalies.
  • Serum citrulline as a novel marker of chronic enteropathy in dogs
  • The epidemiology of campylobacter infection in dogs in the context of the risk of infection to humans.
  • Is pet ownership associated with childhood obesity
  • Metabolomics: a post-genomic tool to predict outcomes in canine lymphoma.
  • Effect of obesity and subsequent weight loss on the canine proteosome