Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tips for preventing feline hepatic lipidosis

I realize that most people who come across this page probably already have a cat that is sick with feline hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. That's usually what makes someone decide to Google the term, right? Just in case, though, I want to list a few tips for preventing feline hepatic lipidosis.

1) Devise some way to keep tabs on how much your cat is eating.

This is difficult with cats, who eat frequent snacks throughout the day, rather than a couple of meals a day like dogs do. It's especially difficult any time you have more than one cat on the same food. However, if you are aware of how much your cats eat (total) on a daily basis, you will notice if they suddenly start eating less as a group. You might be able to then guess which cat has stopped eating by watching their behavior — or, if you have to, quarantine each cat in a separate room with food, water, and a litter box until you figure it out.

The important thing is to catch it before it turns into feline hepatic lipidosis. I've read that it can take as little as 3 weeks of eating about 2/3 the normal amount for fatty liver disease to develop.

2) Remove any obstacles that might prevent your cat from eating.

If you have dogs, make sure you keep your cat's food where the dogs can't get it... or prevent your cat from getting it. Make sure their food is available at all times, or at least at regular feeding times throughout the day.

3) Keep your cat indoors.

You probably have already heard that indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats. Keeping your cat indoors also helps prevent feline hepatic lipidosis, because one of the reasons why many cats stop eating is because of an injury. Typically, if a cat is hurt, it will instinctively crawl into a hiding place and stay there. After a couple of weeks of hiding and not eating, fatty liver disease will set in.

4) Take your cat to the vet for regular checkups and if you notice anything unusual (such as reduced appetite).

Getting sick with something else is another reason why cats sometimes stop eating. If you notice any uncharacteristic change in appetite, take your cat to the vet to have it checked out. Catching an illness and helping it to feel better quickly could prevent the onset of feline hepatic lipidosis — which is important, since you don't want to be trying to fight two illnesses at once.

You should always have the cat in for yearly checkups, just to make sure he or she appears to be healthy. In this case it's definitely better safe than sorry!

The best way to prevent feline hepatic lipidosis is pay attention to your cat: How much he or she eats, how often you refill the water, etc. The more closely you observe your cat's habits and bodily functions, the more likely you are to notice if something is wrong.


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