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What is Hyperlipoproteinemia?

There are two important lipids in your dog’s system and they are cholesterol and triglycerides. HLP is a medical expression for when there are high levels of lipids present in your dog’s blood which causes high cholesterol and interferes with how the blood carries fats. There are varying degrees of HLP – some of them are mild and can be cured by a change in the diet. Other types can be lethal for your pet. Miniature Schnauzers and Beagles seem to be prone to this disease.

Hyperlipoproteinemia is a disorder where a defect in lipoprotein metabolism causes an excess of fats and lipoproteins in the blood stream of your dog.

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Symptoms of Hyperlipoproteinemia in Dogs

Depending on the severity of the condition, the following symptoms are typical of this disease: 

  • Pink tinged yellow patches or lesions on the skin (known as xanthomas)
  • Severe abdominal pain when your dog eats any fatty foods 
  • Firm masses developing on the tendons of the limbs 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever 
  • Decrease in the vision of your dog
  • The onset of liver problems 
  • Clogging of the arteries 
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes 

Types 

There are several stages of HLP ranging from mild to extremely serious and life threatening. 

  • Type 1 – Characterised by severe abdominal pain when eating fatty foods 
  • Type 2 – Firm masses form on the tendons of limbs and can cause premature coronary heart disease
  • Type 3 – Linked to diet and obesity, and can lead to diabetes 
  • Type 4 – Abdominal pain, multiple lesions yellow in patches on the skin, and developing liver problems

Causes of Hyperlipoproteinemia in Dogs

Any change within your dog’s body towards digestion that produces ill health is a serious condition and your veterinarian should be called on to examine your canine friend. Some things that may be occurring are as follows:

  • An increase in the absorption of cholesterol or triglycerides after eating a fat laden meal
  • Defect within the lipid clearing enzymes
  • Malfunction in lipid carrier proteins
  • Inherited digestive conditions
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Progressive kidney disease

Diagnosis of Hyperlipoproteinemia in Dogs

If you have concerns about your dog’s health it is essential that you take him to visit your veterinarian for a check-up. The veterinarian will perform an examination of your dog, and will ask you about your dog’s history of health, what symptoms he is displaying and what diet and exercise your pet is receiving. Based on the examination, and the clinical symptoms displayed, he will be able to proceed to take some tests (usually blood tests) to determine what is causing the problem. 

Your dog may need to remain at the clinic so that the specialist can put your pet on a strict twelve hour fast before he does any tests. These tests determine the blood profile and blood count, and a urinalysis will also be done. The results of these test will determine the treatment for your dog. Your specialist will be looking at the triglycerides count and cholesterol count. Only when your veterinarian has made a diagnosis can the correct treatment begin, but it may take a bit of tweaking to get the results that your dog needs so patience will be required.

Treatment of Hyperlipoproteinemia in Dogs

All types of hyperlipoproteinemia in dogs requires strict dietary control, careful management of any diabetes and monitoring the total fat intake. Major changes to your dog’s diet are needed to reduce the fat content (to less than 10% fat content) to prevent this condition from getting worse. If this change doesn’t work, then your veterinarian will suggest alternative medical treatments to correct the condition. 

A recommended low fat diet for your dog should consist of approximately half carbohydrates, and half low-fat meat, eggs, and dairy. Starchy carbohydrates such as rice, oatmeal and sweet potatoes are best, to keep the calorie density down. The meat should be low-fat varieties or fat removed meat that has been cooked. Meats such as venison and rabbit or even turkey are low-fat options, while lamb and pork are quite high in fat and take much more to digest and process in the body. The aim is to make digestion as easy as possible, keep the calories down (especially if your dog is overweight) and allow your dog’s body to readjust and heal.

Recovery of Hyperlipoproteinemia in Dogs

Careful management of your dog’s health and diet requires constant monitoring to ensure the control of this condition. If your dog still has problems, experiment with different foods to see whether some react better than others. Small manageable meals are best, try not to give large meals at least until his system adjusts and he can handle them. Providing meals that are easy to digest is important. 

Your veterinarian will be able to advise on the supplements needed, but if they are not working well enough try altering them to see what works best for your dog. A good idea is to keep a diet diary for your dog. Record everything your dog eats which includes treats as well. In the event that your dog has a relapse in health, this diary will be an essential tool to see what worked, and can assist your veterinarian to adjust the treatment. Sometimes it is trial and error with your dog’s diet to see what best works for his system.