Fatty Liver Disease

:: So I recently got this Clinical Veterinary Advisor off of Amazon. Definitely a nerd move and I’m sooooo excited about it. This will be the first of many posts in which I glean information and ideas from the book. ::

Micrograph demonstrating marked (macrovesicula...

Image via Wikipedia

Fatty liver disease, also known as Hepatic Lipidosis, is a condition in which triglycerides are accumulated in the liver in excess. We had a cat in the vet hospital this week that had developed the condition. She had been overweight, and was put on a diet in which she had to eat her  meals separate from the other cats in her house. She never really learned to eat the full meal and soon stopped eating altogether. This went on for several weeks before being brought to the vet’s attention.

Risk factors for this disease include:

Generally, this disease affects cats middle-aged or older. The patient brought to us is only 4 years old.

Early diagnosis will result in the best management of the disease. There is a 60-85% change of recovery in most cases, but recovery if lessened by the presence of pancreatitis. The condition can be diagnosed by CBC, unrinalysis, abdominal ultrasounds/radiographs, and other methods. Aspirating (using a needle to poke the intended tissue and gather cells) the liver and doing a cytology (staining the gathered cells on a slide) are preferred over a liver biopsy as it is less invasive.

Treatments can be expensive and tube feeding is required for several weeks. They include correcting electrolyte imbalance in the patient and nutritional support. Treating complications due to liver failure may also be a factor. Recurring fatty liver disease is uncommon unless the underlying cause is not addressed.



  1. Côté, Etienne. Clinical Veterinary Advisor : Dogs and Cats. 2nd. St. Louis: Mosby, Inc., 2011. Print.