Those who own dogs will know that a large number of medical conditions that humans face are also experienced by dogs. And even more interesting is the fact that a large number of the medicines that are prescribed for dogs are also the same. One condition that is common between man and his best friend is high cholesterol.
High cholesterol in dogs, also known as Hyperlipidemia for both dogs and humans, can come about in a few ways.
Causes of High Cholesterol in Dogs
There are various causes of high cholesterol in dogs (and humans!). While some breeds are more susceptible to the condition, environmental issues like lifestyle, amount of exercise and diet can also cause cholesterol levels to rise in many cases. Medical conditions that cause a liver dysfunction can lead to a situation where the cholesterol levels rise. An overactive thyroid or adrenalin gland, high blood sugar, inflammation of the pancreas and constriction of the bile duct can cause the condition to occur.
Symptoms of high cholesterol in dogs
Irrespective of the cause of high cholesterol, the symptoms of the condition are the same. Seizures, abdominal pain, patches on skin, bumps that are yellow or red in color and nervous system dysfunctions can result from high cholesterol levels that are not being managed. A recent study published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice stated that dogs that chased their tail are among the most likely to be suffering from high cholesterol. When 15 tail-chasers and 15 dogs who did not chase their tails were studied and their cholesterol was checked, it was seen clearly that those with high cholesterol levels were the ones whose tails were going tick tock at a speed that no one could fathom.
Treatment of high cholesterol in dogs
If you can see any of the symptoms that are mentioned above, then you may need to take your pet to a veterinarian where your pet will be given a physical check up and where the vet will look into the details of your dog’s diet, lifestyle and overall health. A blood profile conducted after 12 hours of fasting gives the complete cholesterol picture. If the triglyceride levels are less than 150 mg/dL and the total cholesterol is also lower than 300 mg/dL, all is considered perfect. On the other hand if the numbers are higher, you will need to ensure proper treatment for your four legged friend.
A change in diet, a new exercise routine and some medicines will be prescribed. A low fat diet and adequate exercise in the morning and evenings is a must for such dogs. So be sure to watch your dog’s health as much as your own, as we share many of the same problems. As for cats, well…that’s subject for another blog altogether!
While these tests won’t help you analyze your dog’s cholesterol, they will help you make sure you are maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Please check out our home cholesterol test page for our selection of cholesterol tests.
- Article by Anne Hamilton
Photo credit: “Guard Dog” by Fran Hogan