Species affected: Cats
Background: This disorder is almost never seen in dogs—and certainly not from the same cause as in cats. Cats that are overweight and suddenly stop eating undergo hepatic metabolic changes that may lead to the body preferentially metabolizing body fat; this leads to continued anorexia.
Symptoms: The onset is rapid and characterized by vomiting, anorexia, depression and electrolyte imbalances.
Diagnostics: Rapidly confirmed by blood tests.
Special Notes: For obese cats, fasting or even markedly decreased appetite for 3 days often results in hepatic lipidosis. Thinner cats can fast for longer periods of time, but are still in danger.
Principles for Supplementation: The therapeutic goal is to support the urea cycle while forcing food (usually via esophageal or gastric tube). Carnitine helps oxidize fatty acids in the liver cell; arginine may be deficient in these cats. Fish oil, zinc and antioxidants also support the urea cycle. Force feeding may have to continue for as long as a month.