Hepatitic Lipidosis is also known as “Fatty Liver Syndrome.” It is a very common liver condition found in older cats, especially if obese.

Hepatitic Lipidosis usually is the result of a period of time the cat does not eat. As the cat’s body fat is broken down into nutrients for the cat that is not eating, the liver is unable to keep up with the digestive action resulting in the fat being deposited in the liver. This prevents the liver cells from being able to function properly. The end result is that the cat looks “jaundiced,” a yellow color to the mucous membranes and whites of the eyes. Once this occurs, the condition will be fatal unless treated very quickly.

Diagnosis of the condition is confirmed by blood tests for the serum enzymes of the liver and a biopsy. Liver cells viewed under the microscope contain large amounts of fat.

Recovery from this condition is dependent on getting the cat to eat. If the underlying causes of no appetite can be corrected, the chances are good the cat will recover.

Treatment of the disease is directed at nutritional support. These cats must eat to survive! Force Feeding is usually required. Force feeding may be required for 6-8 weeks. It is very difficult to force sufficient nutrition into the cat’s mouth to be effective. In most cases stomach tubes or esophagostomy tubes are placed for ease of feeding.