A Retrospective Study of Feline Hepatic Lipidosis in the Netherlands: 2003-2010
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Feline hepatic lipidosis (FHL) is characterized by lipid accumulation in hepatocytes causing impairment of liver functions and is potentially fatal. Characteristics of the Dutch population of cats with hepatic lipidosis concerning clinical findings, laboratory profile, clinical outcome and survival were evaluated and are described in this report. Cases were included by an established diagnosis based on cytological and/or histopathological findings. All 44 cats included were referred to the department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals of Utrecht University between 2003 to 2010. Patient files were searched for relevant data and a telephonic questionnaire was set up to contact the owners or referring veterinarians for follow up concerning clinical outcome and survival. Differences in survival rates for sex, age and severity of lipidosis were evaluated and variables were screened for prognostic value. Most cats were middle-aged and more female than male cats were affected. Lethargy, weight loss and anorexia were most repeated clinical signs. Less commonly repeated were jaundice and neurological signs. No bleeding tendencies were noted. Blood examination revealed frequent anemia, elevated enzyme activities of ALAT, GGT and AP, hyponatremia, hypokalemia, hypocalcemia and hypoalbuminemia with apparent normal total protein. Survival analysis showed that most cats died within the first month after initial diagnosis and that hypoalbuminemia significantly decreased survival time. No significant differences in survival time were detected for sex, age or severity of lipidosis.