The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

Quick Links & Info Re: Hyperlipemia…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on March 24, 2010


By definition, hyperlipemia implies that the plasma triglyceride concentration exceeds 500 mg/dl (the term hyperlipidemia implies that plasma triglyceride concentration, albeit elevated, is less than 500 mg/dl). Consequences of hyperlipemia include circulatory disturbances and organ failure (especially the liver and kidneys) as a result of fatty infiltration. The mortality associated with hyperlipemia has traditionally been reported to be very high; mortality may be attributable to either hyperlipemia per se or to various underlying causative disease processes.

Hyperlipemia from the Merck Vet Manual 

Excessive negative energy balance: In states of excessive negative energy balance (e.g. starvation, anorexia) particularly when energy demands are high (e.g. late pregnancy, early lactation), lipolysis of fat stores in adipocytes will increase VLDL concentrations. Hyperlipemia due to excessive negative energy balance mostly occurs in horses and camelids and is due to increased energy demands from lactation or pregnancy combined with insufficient food intake (stress, transport, underlying disease), insufficient dietary energy or insulin resistance (from pregnancy or stress-associated hormones). In contrast, ruminants with excessive negative energy balance rarely develop triglyceride or cholesterol abnormalities (which has been attributed to inefficient export of VLDL by the liver in these species). In all species, excessive negative energy balance can cause hepatic lipidosis (non-esterified fatty acids from lipolysis are converted to triglycerides and are stored, when in excess, in hepatocytes).

Hyperlipemia in horses: This is especially seen in pony mares and donkeys and is associated with obesity, pregnancy, stress (e.g. transport) and lactation. It is characterized by negative energy balance (resulting in lipolysis) and insulin resistance (from pregnancy-associated hormones like progesterone and obesity). Horses have poorly developed pathways for ketone production and hence cannot convert mobilized fatty acids to ketone bodies, shifting them instead to VLDL production. Hypertriglyceridemia is due to increased VLDL and results in hepatic lipidosis (and eventually liver failure with increased liver enzymes), hypoglycemia, renal disease and central nervous system signs. It is fatal in more than 60% of cases. Common diseases associated with hyperlipemia in horses are hyperadrenocorticism (hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and hirsutism are characteristic), colic, laminitis and gastrointestinal parasitism.

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