Also known in kittens and cats as the fatty liver disease, feline hepatic lipidosis is a serious condition that may threaten the life of your pet if not treated.
It results from the accumulation of fat in the liver, which is caused by lack of food, especially in obese cats. Excessive fat in the liver hinders it from performing its metabolic functions of synthesizing proteins, detoxifying the body cells. Therefore, an aggressive course of treatment is needed from a veterinarian in JCroton-on-Hudson, NY to avoid development of possible fatal circumstances.
This disease develops mainly because your feline refuses to eat for a couple of days. This may be because of a sudden change of diet from the ordinary into something that your pet is not used to, or other circumstances that cause psychological stress hence loss of appetite. For example, bringing in a new pet, or loss of a close relative may cause them to stop eating for a while. It may also occur as a secondary disease, with the primary cause being an infection of other body parts like the pancreas, cancer or diabetes.
An effective diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis occurs after observing several symptoms associated with the disease. It may take some time to notice that your cat is not eating as much food as he usually eats, or has a decreased appetite for solid foods. This, in turn, leads to lethargy as he becomes weak and is unable to perform physical activities such as playing for long without taking breaks or collapsing. The eventual failure of liver function may lead to jaundiced features in your pet and dehydration.
The vet also considers the history of your pet including any previous instances of liver disease or failure. Several indicative tests have to be done on the blood and urine to show that the liver is beginning to fail or has failed in its functions. A final and conclusive imaging test- either a radiograph or an ultrasound- is done to ascertain the increasing size of the liver.
If the diagnosis shows that the disease is in its early stages, then your pet will be put on an aggressive nutritional treatment. He will probably be given a prescribed diet that is rich in protein and calories to make up for the period of lack of food. Sometimes, when the cat continues to resist the food, he is fed using a feeding tube for a period of time until he regains his appetite. These meals are usually supplemented with appetite stimulants and nutritional components such as vitamins. Additionally, the cat is given a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration and to aid in proper digestion.
In extreme cases where the disease has advanced to a fatal stage, the kitten or cat has to be admitted and given intravenous medication to expel the fat from the liver thus restoring its functions. Most pets experiencing this disease get well within six weeks of treatment, and they get back to feeding as they used to before the medication reverse any liver damage, and it regains its normal functions.