Fatty liver, also known as Hepatic Lipidosis, is a liver disease common among cats. If this medical issue is not treated, it can have severe consequences.
Normally when insufficient food intake or nutrition is prevalent, the body automatically reallocates and utilizes fats stored in other parts of the body. These fats would then be stored in the liver during the process of conversion into Lipoproteins in order to nourish the body and generate energy. If this process does not occur, you would notice a significant decrease in your cat’s activity, for instance, your cat might sleep all day long or feel drowsy due to lack of strength. This should tell you that there is something wrong with your cat and proper care should be taken, including a drug treatment prescribed by a vet to help your little friend feel better.
Cats have not evolved with the capacity to store large quantities of fat in their bodies, unlike some other animals from the feline species. As a result, when they consume less food than necessary, the small amount of fat that is transferred to their liver is not sufficiently processed nor is it converted into energy at optimum levels. This malnutrition can make the liver swell up and turn yellow, which is the result of the red blood cells that contain a little bit of yellow pigments not being processed efficiently. This yellow pigment can also be observed in the cat’s eyes that would turn yellow, indicating the development of Hepatic Lipidosis.
The liver is also responsible for blood clotting when an injury occurs, either internal or external. Should it fail at this task, there could be a severe loss of blood. Another important role that the liver has is detoxifying the body and disposing of all unnecessary and dangerous chemicals that could become harmful. When the liver does not function efficiently, it also puts your cat at risk of developing diabetes, stress and even cancer. Therefore, it is imperative that the cat is observed very carefully for all the aforementioned visible symptoms which should be treated immediately.
Other than the yellowish pigment in the eyes, vomiting and diarrhea are additional visible symptoms that could occur when there is a problem with your cat's liver. These signs should alert you to seek advice from a Vet who can advise the best course of action.
Depression is also another serious issue, as cats are generally playful and need regular exercise to keep their bodies fit. Cats must remain in shape in order to hunt for food, and even though domesticated cats are fed at home, it is their natural instinct to catch small prey like lizards, geckos, mice and other little animals. They keep their bodies agile and muscles well-toned when they practice the art of hunting and it is necessary that they continue this activity in order to be fit and healthy. If you notice your cat is no longer exhibiting such active behavior, you should keep a lookout for any other symptoms and investigate if they are suffering from Hepatic Lipidosis. Excess salivation or drooling from the mouth is also a cause for concern and if this occurs and continues on a regular basis, a visit to the vet is advisable and proper observation is required.
It is important to remember that the symptoms mentioned in this article are also apparent for other conditions and do not necessary indicate the development of Hepatic Lipidosis. For example, some of the symptoms are also relevant for obesity which is common in cats who have either limited or no exercise.
For this reason, it is crucial that if you have any cats at home you observe their daily activities and behavior. It is crucial to make note of any changes in behavior and keep a close look at any new patterns they might exhibit. This information could help the vet when you take your cat there for a necessary diagnosis and treatment.
Take good care of your cat, and it will take care of you.