Feline Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease in cats is also known as hepatic lipidosis. The condition occurs whenever an excessive amount of fat infiltrates into the liver and compromises its function. This condition is quite serious and will prove to be fatal if not treated.
When animals goes without eating, the body moves fat reserves to the liver to be processed to create energy. However, cat’s livers aren’t designed to process the amount of fat presented to them during this process. Instead, the fat will keep accumulating until the liver becomes yellow. Further complications will result in death if the condition isn’t reversed.
Hepatic lipidosis in cats is usually brought about when cats stop eating due to some other health problem. For example, lymphoma, pancreatitis, and kidney disease are common examples of health problems that can lead to the condition. Changes in diet or just general stress may also prompt cats to stop eating like they should.
Vigilant owners will notice a variety of signs. They include diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and depression. Cats will also rapidly lose weight or experience muscle wasting. The eyes may also become jaundiced.
To diagnose feline fatty liver disease, the vet will need to conduct a medical history as well as consider when the symptoms started. Other health problems can easily prompt cats to stop eating and bring about this condition, so they will need to be found and treated.
A battery of laboratory tests will help achieve this goal. It’s also necessary to take a look at the liver to see if it’s enlarged or malformed, so a radiograph or ultrasound may be needed. It can even be necessary to get a sample of the liver’s tissue through a biopsy.
Since cats that aren’t eating have an increased risk of dehydration, they may need to be hospitalized to undergo fluid therapy intravenously. The main treatment for feline hepatic lipidosis is a dietary change. Cats will need to eat a balanced, healthy diet. If cats won’t eat on their own, then a feeding tube may be necessary. If nutritional deficits have occurred, the cat may need to be given vitamin supplements.