Lipidosis, Fatty Liver

Lipidosis is the deposition of fat in cells. Hepatic lipidosis, also called fatty liver disease, is a common disease in cats, when fat accumulates in the liver cells and the body becomes unable to transport the fat out of the liver. Hepatic lipidosis occurs both in cats and dogs; the incidence is higher in cats. In cats, it is most often due to an underlying primary cause, such as kidney disease, starvation, obesity, diabetes, or pancreatitis. The risk of hepatic lipidosis is greatly increased in obese cats that do not eat for some periods of time. Illness, stress, change of diet, or aggressive attempts to get the cat lose weight can trigger loss of appetite. The end result is often generalized liver failure.

Management of hepatic lipidosis mainly involves controlled diets. A severe form of lipidosis in dogs is associated with diabetes mellitus where a rapid buildup of fat will sometimes lead to rupture of the fat-laden cells, release of fat into the bloodstream and obstruction of the arteries. Idiopathic hepatic lipidosis refers to cases where no underlying cause can be identified. As liver failure progresses, jaundice becomes visible. Corneal lipidosis is characterized by white opacities on the surface of the eye and destruction of the cornea. This form of lipidosis has been associated with many inherited diseases of the cornea and has been reported in the German Shepherd Dog.


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