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High Cholesterol Affects Pets Also

High cholesterol is commonly considered a problem that only affects animals of the human persuasion. However, high cholesterol levels can also compromise the cardiovascular health of pets as well.

Hyperlipidermia, or high cholesterol, is excessive amounts of fat or fatty substances present in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced in the liver in order to digest fats from one's diet. Cholesterol is carried through the blood to various organs through large molecules called lipoproteins. There are different types of lipoproteins, each responsible for different tasks.

Just as with people, diet and heredity can play a role in a pet's cholesterol levels. Dogs and cats can have high levels of cholesterol in their bloodstream, levels that negatively impact health. Other factors that may increase cholesterol include hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, obesity, inflammation of the pancreas, and diabetes.

Veterinarians will conduct tests to determine if a pet's cholesterol levels are too high. These tests may include a complete blood count (CBC), chemical blood profile, urinalysis, and a serum sample for biochemical analysis. Bloodwork is usually done after a fast, and for ease on the pet owner, a dog or cat may be hospitalized in order to complete testing.

The veterinarian may prescribe a low-fat diet in order to bring cholesterol levels in check. If this is not effective, medication or other therapies may be employed to lower cholesterol levels. Pets may have to undergo routine testing to check for cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the future.

Much in the same way a person may make an effort to prevent cholesterol from being a problem, owners can alter the lifestyle of their dogs and cats.

* Maintain a healthy weight.

* Get routine exercise.

* Limit fats in food.

* Avoid "people food," especially fatty items.

* Regularly visit a vet for check-ups.