ISSN 2398-2969      



Synonym(s): Hypercholesterolemia, Hypertriglyceridemia, Hyperlipoproteinemia


  • A raised blood concentration of lipid in the fasted (>12 hours) patient exceeding the upper range of normal.
  • Cause: primary idiopathic, or secondary to another disease process.
  • Signs: may be asymptomatic; vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, abdominal pain, distress, ocular involvement. Secondary hyperlipidemia signs of primary disease process.
  • Diagnosis: biochemistry - serum triglyceride, refrigeration test, lipid and cholesterol concentrations; lipoprotein electrophoresis.
  • Treatment: reduce dietary fat and/or treatment of primary disease process.
  • Prognosis: dependent upon response to treatment of primary disease process.



Primary hyperlipidemia

  • Idiopathic hyperchylomicronemia:
  • Idiopathic hypercholesterolemia:
  • Post-prandial hypertriglyceridemia:
    • Normal physiological process.

Secondary hyperlipidemia

  • Same as primary causative disease process.


  • An increase in blood lipid concentrations in the fasted patient exceeding upper range of normal: primary idiopathic or secondary to another disease process.

Primary hyperlipidemia

  • Idiopathic hyperchylomicronemia:
    • ? Defective lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity → hypertriglyceridemia + hyperchylomicronemia.
  • Idiopathic hypercholesterolemia:
    • Increased production of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL).
    • Reduced clearance of low density lipoprotein (LDL).
    • Reduced clearance of high density lipoprotein (HDL)
  • Post-prandial hyperlipidemia:
    • 30-60 min after ingestion of meal containing fat → gastrointestinal absorption of chylomicrons → increase in serum triglycerides for 3-10 hours.

Secondary hyperlipidemia

  • Pancreatitis Pancreatitis: acute :
    • Pancreatic inflammation may compromise pancreatic insulin production → reduced LPL activity → hyperlipidemia (hypertriglyceridemia, +/- moderate hypercholesterolemia).
  • Diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus :
    • Reduced LPL activity and production + increased very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) production + increased cholesterol synthesis by the liver → hyperlipidemia ( hypertriglyceridemia, moderate hypercholesterolemia).
  • Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism :
    • Reduced LPL activity + reduced general lipolytic activity + decreased hepatic degradation of cholesterol to bile acids → hyperlipidemia ( mild to marked hypercholesterolemia).
  • Hyperadrenocorticism Hyperadrenocorticism :
    • Reduced LPL activity + increased hepatic synthesis of VLDL → hypercholesterolemia + hypertriglyceridemia.
  • Nephrotic syndrome Nephrotic syndrome :
    • ? Low albumin and low oncotic pressure → increased hepatic cholesterol synthesis.
  • Liver disease Liver: chronic disease - overview /cholestasis:
    • Reduced cholesterol excretion in bile → hypercholesterolemia.
  • Obesity Obesity :
    • Increased hepatic VLDL synthesis → hyperlipidemia.

Ocular hyperlipidemia

  • High serum lipoproteins → anterior uveitis → normal blood aqueous barrier breakdown → lipids enter aqueous humor Lipid corneal dystrophy Cornea: lipidosis → cloudy eye + Lipemia retinalis may → blindness.
  • Seen with both primary and secondary hyperlipidemias.


  • Usually chronic (months).


This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to start a free trial to access all Vetlexicon articles, images, sounds and videos, or Login


This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to start a free trial to access all Vetlexicon articles, images, sounds and videos, or Login


This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to start a free trial to access all Vetlexicon articles, images, sounds and videos, or Login

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Li G, Kawasumi K, Okada Y, Ishikawa S, Yamamoto I, Arai T, Mori N (2014) Comparison of plasma lipoprotein profiles and malondialdehyde between hyperlipidemia dogswith/without treatment. BMC Vet Res​ 10 (67) PubMed.
  • Xenoulis P G, Suchodolski J S, Ruaux C G, Steiner J M (2010) Association between serum triglyceride and canine pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity concentrations in Miniature Schnauzers. JAAHA 46 (4), 229-234 PubMed.
  • Briand F, Serisier S, Krempf M, Siliart B, Magot T, Ouguerram K, Nguyen P (2006) Atorvastatin increases intestinal cholesterol absorption in dogs. J Nutr 136 (7 Suppl), 2034S-2036S PubMed.
  • Johnson M C (2005) Hyperlipidemia disorders in dogs. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 27 (5), 361-370 VetMedResource.
  • Halenda R M & Moore C P (1998) Presumed lipid retinopathy in a diabetic dog. Vet Ophthalmol (2/3), 171-174 PubMed.
  • Bauer J E (1997) New concepts of polyunsaturated fatty acids in dogs and cats. Vet Clin Nutrition (1), 29-33 VetMedResource.
  • Degner L & Shores A (1997) Hyperlipidemia associated with seizures in a dog. Vet Med 92 (5), 435-442.
  • Bauer J E (1995) Evaluation and dietary considerations in idiopathic hyperlipidemia in dogs. JAVMA 206 (11), 1684-1688 PubMed.
  • Whitney M S (1992) Evaluation of hyperlipidemias in dogs and cats. Semin Vet Med Surg (Small Anim) (4), 292-300 PubMed.
  • DeBowes L J (1987) Lipid metabolism and hyperlipoproteinemia in dogs. Comp Cont Ed Pract Vet 9 (7), 727-32 VetMedResource.
  • Rogers W A, Donovan E F & Kociba G J (1975) Lipids and lipoproteins in normal dogs and dogs with secondary hyperlipoproteinemia. JAVMA 166 (11), 1092-1100 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Bauer J E (2000) Hyperlipidemias. In: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 5th edn. Ettinger S J & Feldman E C (eds). W B Saunders, Philadelphia. pp 283-292.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

We have an ever growing content library on Vetlexicon so if you ever find we haven't covered something that you need please fill in the form below and let us know!


To show you are not a Bot please can you enter the number showing adjacent to this field