Cat fatty liver disease, clinically known as hepatic lipidosis, is a crippling and severe health condition. It is also one of the most widespread forms of liver diseases in cats. Know more about hepatic lipidosis, its causes and symptoms, and learn handy tips on how to prevent it with the help of this article.
What is hepatic lipidosis?
It occurs when there are excessive amounts of fatty acids present in your cat’s liver. The liver cannot oxidise and absorb these acids. Thus, they are deposited and stored there, which results to hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver. This condition usually happens when a cat’s body is ‘starved’ of energy or going without food for a few days.
What are the causes of hepatic lipidosis?
- Frequent exposure to stressful situations
- Getting introduced to a new pet, which can cause stress
- Switching to a new diet without proper acclimitisation
- Getting introduced to babies, which can cause stress
What are the symptoms of hepatic lipidosis?
There can be many various indications that your cat is afflicted with hepatic lipidosis or other liver diseases since the liver is involved with a lot of body functions. The symptons listed below could signify that your cat has a liver problem:
- Lack of appetite
- Bloated abdomen
- Excessive salivation
- Low energy levels
- Excessive thirst
- Bloody stool or urine
- Difficulty in breathing
- Bruises on skin and gums
- Excessive urination
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What are the predisposed health problems that can cause hepatic lipidosis?
Cats can also develop fatty liver disease due to other underlying health conditions. Here are the common diseases that can cause or increase your cat’s susceptibility to hepatic lipidosis:
How can you prevent hepatic lipidosis?
One important thing you need to know about this disease is that it mainly affects overweight or obese felines. Therefore, it is preventable if you make sure to keep track of your cat’s food and diet. Here are a few handy tips that can help you prevent hepatic lipidosis:
- Ensure that your cat has a healthy body weight.Cats that have gained excessive weight have more fats stored inside their body which can be moved to or deposited in the liver. Obesity and overweightedness are the biggest risk factors for your feline friend to develop hepatic lipidosis. Make sure to keep track of your cat’s weight. The best way you can do is by taking her to the vet. They will use what is known as a body condition score to evaluate her weight.
- Monitor the amount of food that your cat eats.Make sure that your cat is eating the appropriate amount of food for her size and body type. Use feeding guide found on the cat food label to determine how much is the suggested amount that you should place in her food bowl. Additionally, if your cat needs to go on a diet, consult the vet first before making necessary dietary changes.
- Avoid sudden changes in your cat’s diet.If you are switching your cat’s diet to a new one, make sure to introduce the new diet gradually. Abrupt changes to her diet can cause upset stomach in your cat, or it can even result to her losing her appetite. Both of these can lead to hepatic lipidosis. Follow the instruction below to properly introduce a new diet to your cat:
- Days 1–2 (or days 1–4): Mix 25% new food with 75% old food
- Days 3–5 (or days 5–10): Mix 50% new food with 50% old food
- Days 6–7 (or days 11–14): Mix 75% new food with 25% old food