High Cholesterol In Dogs (Canines): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is Cholesterol (High Cholesterol Levels in Dogs)?

  • Cholesterol is a lipid that is necessary for certain animals, dogs and humans included, to function
  • It is synthesized in naturally in body
  • It is also introduced through diet
  • When present in increased levels, it can cause a lot of serious conditions.

Cause of High Cholesterol Levels in Dogs

More than one condition causes high cholesterol level in dogs. Some of the most common causes include:

  • High fat diet – Cholesterol levels in blood increase after consuming high fat meals
  • Nephrotic Syndrome – This is a degenerative condition of the kidneys that can cause an increased production of cholesterol in the body
  • Decreased Thyroid Function
  • Over Functioning Adrenal Gland
  • Pancreatitis
  • Bile Duct Obstruction

High cholesterol levels may also be caused by:

  • Pregnancy
  • Defects in Lipid Clearance
  • Genetics – High cholesterol levels may also be an inherited condition

Symptoms of High Cholesterol in Dogs

  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Nervous System Issues
  • Patches on the Skin
  • Xanathomata – lipid filled bumps on the skin


The condition is diagnosed though blood work including lipid profiles. Tests may be requested when dogs are showing signs of high cholesterol levels.

Treatment of High Cholesterol in Dogs

  • Initial treatment is going to involve changes in diet
  • If diet changes do not work, medical treatments may be prescribed by the vet
  • Low fat diet should be continued despite drug therapy

Follow up lab tests are necessary for dogs with high cholesterol levels. The high concentration of fat in the body can lead to conditions like pancreatitis. It can also precipitate cardiovascular issues.

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