Hepatic lipidosis is caused by an accumulation of excess fat in liver cells. It is usually triggered by anorexia. Check the signs and know how to manage the problem
Posted: 20 April 2017
Hepatic lipidosis is caused by an accumulation of excess fat in liver cells. It is usually triggered by anorexia. The loss of appetite happens as a result of many factors, including pain, stress, chronic fear, inappropriate handling, visits to the vet, changes in diet, dental disease and many other health problems.
It can develop quickly and rapidly becomes life threatening.
In a healthy rabbit, volatile fatty acids are extracted from caecotrophs when they are digested, which are then absorbed directly through the caecal wall.
When a rabbit stops eating, these caecotroph are no longer formed, and glucose and volatile fatty acid production is reduced. Anorexia also results in hypoglycaemia, which stimulates lipolysis and the mobilisation of free fatty acids from fatty tissue. However because the normal metabolic processes have been interrupted, the fat begins to build up in the liver. The hepatocytes start to swell with fat and the rabbit rapidly becomes unwell.
Obese rabbits that can’t reach under the tail and ingest their caecotrophs are also at high risk from hepatic lipidosis for the same reasons mentioned above.
The warning signals listed below can be seen with hepatic lipidosis but are not exclusive to that disease.
It may be necessary to continue syringe-feeding the rabbit at home. This is where Excel DualCare is particularly beneficial.