by Chick Newman

Introduction ..... Etiology..... Lipid Classification..... Graphics...Clinical Signs...Diagnosis...Treatment


Primary idiopathic hyperlipidemia has been reported to be familial in Miniature Schnauzers and Beagles, and some mixed breeds. It has been seen sporadically in other breeds, e.g. Poodles and Shelties, as well, Infrequently it has been reported in cats.

Secondary hyperlipidemia occurs as a result of another disease process. For example, it has been seen in association with diabetes, pancreatitis, hyperadrenocorticism and hypothyroidism.


This is a metabolically complex disease of lipid -lipoprotein metabolism and the exact etiology is not fully appreciated. The familial type in schnauzers may involve defects lipoprotein lipase and/or Apoprotein C-II, a required cofactor for lipoprotein lipase activity (see figure below for roles of enzyme and cofactors in lipid metabolism). This defect causes a failure to breakdown chylomicrons (most common) and/or VLDL, and results in excessive levels of circulating triglycerides. It is the elevated concentration of triglycerides that is responsible for the clinical signs.


Lipids are derived from exogenous (dietary--> chylomicrons) and endogenous sources. Lipids have been classified as:

Metabolic Pathways:

Normal exogenous and endogenous biochemical lipid metabolism pathways, lipid composition and recommended diets for treatment are illustrated in the following figure ( Note...the first time you click the links in the image, it may take up to a minute to view the corresponding image):

Clinical Signs:



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JAVMA 206:pp1684 (1995); Compendium 18:pp105 (1996);Vet Med May i
ssue: pp438 (1997);Gnang, Human Physiology (1984)

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