Liver lipidosis in cats: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention


It is not surprising that the most common liver lipidosis is found in cats since it can be caused by anxiety. However, it is an established fact that the cat is very sensitive to stress. The least change in his habits can lead to anorexia, this being responsible for an overload of the liver in lipids. But an underlying disease can also sometimes be the cause of liver lipidosis. Anyway, as soon as the revealing symptoms appear, a veterinarian should be consulted so that the cat can benefit from rapid treatment, this pathology which can be fatal.

Liver lipidosis in cats: symptoms that should alert you

This common disease in cats regardless of age, sex or breed, more particularly concerns small felines that suffer fromobesity but not exclusively since slender cats may also be affected. It manifests itself by a overload of lipids in the liver (what is commonly called a “fatty liver”) which can cause animal death. It is therefore a very serious pathology, the main symptoms of which are as follows:

  • Weight loss due to anorexia, which may be partial or total,
  • Yellowing of the skin, whites of eyes and gums, i.e. jaundice
  • Nausea,
  • Vomitings,
  • Apathy (the cat is very weak and has no more enthusiasm),
  • Excessive thirst and consequently an increase in water consumption (polydipsia),
  • An increase in the volume of urine (polyuria).

Some symptoms of hepatic lipidosis are similar to those of a Hepatic insufficiency in cats, which can lead to confusion for the owner. Also, whatever his suspicions, he must take his little companion to the vet without delay so that a diagnosis can be made with certainty.

Feline hepatic lipidosis: the probable causes

Frequently due to distressing situations or to a stress As we have seen, almost permanent liver lipidosis in cats is the consequence of anorexia, but sometimes it can be the cause. It is also a vicious circle of which the animal is the first victim. But it can sometimes be caused by a poor quality food or not at all suitable for animals, inevitably leading to deficiencies. Now a deficit arginine and methionine ( amino acids) has a negative impact on the body.

Hepatic lipidosis: diagnosis

It is important that the cat owner can transmit to the veterinarian all of the information that he considers useful in order to facilitate the diagnosis. The practitioner must know what are the recurring symptoms, since when the cat is sick, what he eats in normal times… He must also be informed of the upheavals which could have distressed the cat such as the birth of a new child, a move, the arrival at the home of another domestic animal, the absence of a member of the family to which the animal was very attached … These are all distressing situations for this little feline and this may explain the origin of this disease.

Of course, exams are essential for diagnosing hepatic lipidosis. These are generally:

  • A blood test which makes it possible on the one hand to note the impairment of liver function, on the other hand its degree of severity,
  • An abdominal x-ray and ultrasound to show an increase in the volume of the liver and to observe the integrity of this organ,
  • A liver biopsy is only carried out as a last resort because it is an analytical process that carries risks because it is very invasive. However, this is the only test that can confirm with certainty the diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis.

The veterinarian can perform many other additional examinations if he considers it useful such as a urinalysis, a screening test for feline AIDS and leukemia because these two pathologies are also the cause of anorexia. in some cats.

Liver lipidosis in cats: treatment

As the animal is anorexic, it is essential that it receive for several weeks high energy foods but also easily digestible. In order for the animal to want to eat, its owner must therefore ensure to offer it appetizing rations consisting of high quality products. Getting an anorexic cat to eat again is not easy. This requires perseverance from his breeder and a great deal of patience. Everything must be done to ensure that the food rations prescribed by the veterinarian are ingested by the sick cat. Replenishment promotes healing, but it is unfortunately insufficient when liver function is severely impaired.

In parallel with a resupply which can sometimes be done through the force-feeding, the animal must take for several days a medical treatment teaming up :

  • Appetite stimulants,
  • Antacids that neutralize stomach acid,
  • Antiemetics for nausea / vomiting,
  • A stimulant of liver function.

In addition, since the cat is considerably weakened, it can receive treatment withantibiotics to be less exposed to possible bacterial damage.

When this disease is diagnosed too tardily, the prognosis is extremely reserved because the cat’s life is in danger. Liver lipidosis can indeed be fatal. This is why it is crucial to consult with the slightest doubt so that the diagnostic is as early as possible. Finally, you should know that it is very difficult to prevent this type of pathology, but you can at least avoid causing stress to your cat because it promotes anorexia. If the animal sulks its bowl for more than 48 hours, the best attitude of its owner is to take it to the vet.

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