"Hyperlipoproteinemia in dogs explained

"Hyperlipoproteinemia in dogs explained

Health & Safety

The two essential lipids in a dog’s system are known as cholesterol and triglycerides and when their numbers rise, dogs develop a condition known as hyperlipoproteinemia or HLP. The disorder sees dogs suffering from high cholesterol which in turn negatively impacts how fats are carried in a dog’s blood stream. Sometimes a dog may suffer from a mild form of HLP which typically is that much easier to treat through reviewing a dog’s diet. However, other forms of HLP can be fatal with some breeds being more prone to suffering from hyperlipoproteinemia than others.

Breeds most susceptible

The breeds most susceptible to suffering from HLP are as follows:

  • Beagles
  • Miniature Schnauzers

Symptoms associated with the condition

Dogs suffering from hyperlipoproteinemia will exhibit certain symptoms depending on the severity of their condition. These are as follows:

  • Dogs develop yellowish patches of pink tinged skin or sometimes lesions which are known as xanthomas
  • They suffer abdominal pain which can be severe when they eat fattier foods
  • Tendons swell and develop firm masses
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Their vision is negatively impacted
  • Liver problems can develop
  • Arteries become clogged
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

The various types of HLP

There are several stages to the condition which range from mild to severe and then life-threatening. These are as follows:

  • Type 1 – dogs suffer severe abdominal pain when they have eaten fattier foods
  • Type 2 – masses develop on a dog’s tendons which are firm to the touch and which could lead to a premature heart condition
  • Type 3 – dogs become obese which as a result leads to them developing diabetes
  • Type 4 – dogs suffer abdominal pain and develop yellow lesions on their skin. They develop liver problems

The Causes

Hyperlipoproteinemia is typically caused by changes to a dog’s digestive system which sees an increase in cholesterol and triglyceride absorption when they are fed a fattier diet. Other causes are as follows:

  • Lipid clearing enzymes are defective
  • A malfunction in lipid carrier proteins
  • An inherited digestive disorder
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Progressive kidney disease

Diagnosing the problem

A vet would want to have a dog’s full medical history before thoroughly examining them. They would also need to know how the onset of any symptoms first manifested themselves and the sort of diet a dog is being fed. The sort of test a vet would recommend carrying out to come to a definitive diagnosis would be as follows:

  • A full blood test and count

A dog suspected of suffering from HLP may need to be hospitalised and put on a strict diet before a vet then carries out further tests to establish the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in a dog’s blood.

Treatment options

Any dog suffering from hyperlipoproteinemia would need to be put on a strict diet followed by careful monitoring and management should they have developed diabetes. This would involve feeding dogs a very low-fat diet with an end goal being to resolve the problem. A dog’s diet must be as digestible as possible to ensure that calories are kept as low as possible which would help a dog’s own system heal itself.


With careful management and the correct low-fat diet, the prognosis is generally good for dogs that have been diagnosed as suffering from HLP. The vet would typically recommend giving any supplements to a dog should they deem it necessary to do so.

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