Hyperlipidemia is a general term that describes high levels of lipids (fat molecules) circulating in the blood. Lipids are any of a group of organic compounds that are greasy to the touch, insoluble in water, and soluble in nonpolar organic solvents.
After taking a meal, food nutrients pass into the small intestine where chylomicrons (micro particles of liquid fat) are absorbed 30-60 minutes later. Chylomicrons are formed during digestion of fats. They belong to lipid class which includes both triglycerides and cholesterol. Absorption of chylomicrons raise levels of triglycerides for 3-10 hours. In some animales, levels of serum triglycerides and cholesterol remain elevated for more than 12 hours, indicating hyperlipidemia. Blood serum is termed as lipemic when triglycerides levels measure over 200 mg/dl in it. A higher concentration of triglycerides measuring over 1000 mg/dl, gives blood serum a milky, opaque appearance, known medically as lactescence (literally, being milky).
Hyperlipedemia can be due to certain conditions such as diabetes and hypothyroidism that can lower levels of lipoprotein lipas (LPL), an enzyme that helps in the dissolution of lipids. In addition, certain other conditions can affect liver in such a way that it produces more very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), resulting in increased lipid levels in the blood. Besides, there are other conditions that can affect liver or other body organs that contribute in raised levels of lipids in body. In addition, hyperlipidemia can also be an inherited condition in certain breeds.
Seizures, abdominal pain, nervous system dysfunction, patches on the skin and cutaneous xanthomata, which are yellowish-orange lipid-filled bumps (i.e., bumps filled with a fatty, greasy liquid) are common signs and symptoms related to hyperlipidemia.