Hepatic Lipidosis (Fatty Liver Disease)
Hepatic lipidosis is a condition in cats that occurs when there is a sudden change in a cats appetite causing a dramatic decrease in food consumption. There are a number of stressors that can result in a cat not eating (moving, new cat or person in the house, or general illness) or it can be due to an underlying disorder of the liver (such as a tumor). The body can tolerate 2-3 days without food, but if the cat does not return to eating, fatty liver disease will likely occur. As the cat’s system goes into a starvation mode it sends reserve fat stores to the liver to be used for glucose production. The liver becomes overloaded, begins to swell, and fatty liver disease results. The inflammation in the liver can also place pressure on the ducts responsible for transporting bile from the liver into the gall bladder. This causes bile to back up into the bloodstream and will result in a yellow color to the skin, eyes and gums.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that commonly occurs in older cats. The thyroid gland plays an important role in maintaining the body’s normal metabolism. Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone produced by an overactive or enlarged thyroid gland(s). that can be present as a benign growth on the thyroid gland itself of may be scattered along the neck region. The increase in the amount of thyroid hormone circulation in the bloodstream speeds up the amount of energy used by cells in the body and results in the presenting clinical signs.
The kidneys are one of the most important filtration organs in the body. In addition to maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, they are also responsible for filtering out toxins and controlling blood pressure. As cats age, there is a gradual decrease in the functioning of the cells responsible for maintaining this balance. Because cats were originally a desert species they got most of their fluid from their prey. Cats don’t seem to drink as much water as dogs or people until their kidneys begin to decline. Often, they show no signs of decreasing kidney function until 75% of the cells are no longer working. There are several symptoms that arise slowly which help us diagnose early kidney disease, or what we call renal insufficiency.