Objective—To determine effects of dietary lipid and
protein on development of hepatic lipidosis (HL) and
on physical and biochemical indices following rapid
weight loss in cats.
Animals—24 ovariohysterectomized cats.
Procedure—Cats were fed a high energy diet until
they gained 30% of their ideal body weight and then
randomly assigned to receive 1 of 4 weight-reduction
diets (6 cats/diet) at 25% of maintenance energy
requirements per day. Diets contained a low or high
quality protein source and a lipid source deficient or
sufficient in long chain essential fatty acids (LCEFA).
Serum and plasma samples and liver biopsy specimens
were obtained for biochemical analyses and
determination of hepatic lipid content before and after
weight gain and during and after weight loss.
Results—Irrespective of weight-reduction diet fed, all
cats lost weight at a comparable rate (4.51 to 5.00
g/d/kg of obese body weight). Three cats developed
hepatic lipidosis. Significant changes in plasma
insulin, cholesterol, triglyceride, and serum glucose
concentrations were detected after weight gain and
weight loss in all diet groups, but values for these
variables did not differ among groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cats can lose
25 to 30% of their obese body weight over 7 to 9
weeks without developing overt clinical signs of HL,
provided that weight-reduction diets are highly palatable,
contain a high quality protein, have a source of
LCEFA, and are fortified with vitamins and microminerals.
However, rapid weight loss may increase risk
factors associated with development of diabetes mellitus.
(Am J Vet Res 2000;61:559–565)