Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
Medical Database

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Hepatic Lipidosis in Cats

Animals Affected – Cat

General Information
Hepatic lipidosis is the abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver. While a normal liver contains about 5% fat, in cats with hepatic lipidosis, the fat content may reach 40% to 50% of total liver weight, resulting in liver failure. Although some cases are caused by toxic materials or diabetes, most cases occur in grossly overweight cats who are subjected to periods of starvation or have a severely reduced appetite. While starvation in other animals produces a mildly fatty liver, in obese cats the severe lipidosis is often fatal. Cats of normal weight are usually able to tolerate periods of starvation without developing lipidosis.

Why this type of lipidosis occurs is unknown, but researchers are investigating amino acid deficiencies and hormone abnormalities.

Cats with lipidosis are usually over 2 years old, and most have not eaten at all or eaten very little for a period of 2 to 3 weeks. Many have lost up to 50% of their body weight.

Important Points in Treatment
1. Aggressive nutritional support is necessary to save cats with lipidosis. Hospitalization and feeding by stomach tube is typical.
2. Recovery is not rapid. Most cats need treatment for 4 to 8 weeks or longer. Once affected cats begin to eat on their own, the chances for recovery are good.

An Important Update From Animal & Bird Medical Center On COVID-19

We are committed to offering a safe and healthy environment for our clients, pets and hospital team here at Animal and Bird Medical Center. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive actions is key.

In being cautious and mindful of everyone’s safety, we are actively working to minimize your exposure to crowded exam rooms and long waits in the lobby.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols in-hospital for the time-being…

In order to limit exposure while still providing quality care for your pet, we will be implementing special protocols to keep you safe.

We will have our veterinary technicians get a history of the patient’s symptoms and owner’s concerns via phone prior to coming into the clinic.

Our goal is for you to be able to bring your pet in for medical care but have no risk for you or our dedicated staff of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The Doctors and staff are dedicated to making sure your pet’s medical needs are taken care of during this national crisis.

We can still fill prescriptions for pick up, however, for those who prefer, non-narcotic and non-urgent prescriptions can be mailed to your home.

As always, careful hand-washing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.