IDEXX’s SDMA test diagnoses cat kidney disease earlier

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IDEXX’s SMDA test diagnoses cat kidney disease earlierIDEXX’s SMDA test diagnoses cat Chronic Kidney Disease earlier than ever before giving the cats a better chance of a longer, happier life. That’s really important because one in three cats will develop kidney disease in their lifetime. This far outnumbers cats with  thyroid disease or diabetes.

1 in 3 cats & 1 in 10 dogs get kidney disease

The SDMA test, available commercially this past July, is a real breakthrough. Before this new test, dogs and cats were only diagnosed when they showed symptoms of kidney disease. They may have already lost 70-75 percent of their kidney function. Now when diagnosed, cats may have only lost 40 percent of their kidney function, as shown in the chart below.

IDEXX’s SMDA test diagnoses cat kidney disease earlier
IDEXX’s SMDA test diagnoses cat kidney disease earlier

IDEXX’s SMDA test diagnoses cat kidney disease earlier

IDEXX Laboratories, Inc,, headquartered in Maine, is a leader in pet healthcare innovation. The company serves practicing veterinarians around the world with a broad range of diagnostic and information technology-based products and services.

According to their website, kidney disease has been difficult to combat because it is often not detected until most of the kidney damage has already been done. Standard testing methods (measuring creatinine during routine bloodwork) typically sends up the warning flag when 75 percent of a pet’s kidney function is gone. SDMA sends up that warning much sooner.

The International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) classifies kidney disease by stages. The earliest phase is Stage 1 and Stage 4 is the latest. It has always been difficult to diagnose Stage 1 because creatinine levels are not elevated. However, IRIS says when SDMA levels are combined with creatinine values, otherwise thought to be normal, it is possible to diagnose kidney disease in Stage 1.

SDMA catches twice as many pets with kidney function loss

Standard screening methods sometimes missed even advanced disease. Results can be thrown off by your pet’s lean muscle mass. This does not affect SDMA levels.

According to IRIS, SDMA, combined with standard methods, also helps gauge severity of later stages. New IRIS guidelines suggest an elevated SDMA marker in a pet with later stage disease could imply it has been underestimated. For example, your pet may now be considered Stage 3 rather than Stage 2, resulting in a different treatment plan.

80% of cats over 15 have with kidney disease

IDEXX’s SMDA test diagnoses cat kidney disease earlier
Our Victory had kidney disease

Now that IDEXX’s SMDA test diagnoses cat kidney disease earlier, it is believed they’ll find up to 80 percent of cats over 15 affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). They also anticipate up to 40 percent of dogs, 15 years and older, with CKD. Consequently, many pet parents will have to deal with kidney disease at some point in their lifetimes.

We, at Paws for Reflection, fall into that category. Our first feline family member, Victory, had both kidney and thyroid disease. We used Hills’ Prescription K/D Diet for her treatments. She never progressed to the point of having subterraneous injections, but kidney disease is on our radar screen as our feline family gets older.

IDEXX SDMA test similar to a cholesterol test

IDEXX compares the SDMA test to an annual human cholesterol test. If the cholesterol is too high, your doctor will recommend a series of lifestyle behavior modifications. Likewise, annual SDMA screening allows you to modify your cat’s lifestyle to preserve his  kidneys. Additionally, if your cat has kidney disease, SDMA can help your veterinarian determine how advanced the disease is. This will enable you to get the right treatment plan to combat the progression of the disease.

Early diagnosis of kidney disease may slow progression

Management of chronic kidney disease may slow progression of the disease. On IDEXX’s website, Dr. Celeste Clements  says, ‘If early kidney disease is suspected, your veterinarian will customize specific treatments for your dog or ca. The course of treatment will depend on how your pet feels, the severity of the kidney disease and if your pet has other medical conditions.

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    Ask your veterinarian about the IDEXX SDMA test

    An estimated 2 in 5 veterinarians in the United States are including SDMA in their routine blood testing, almost always at no added cost. If your veterinarian isn’t yet running SDMA, ask them to send your cat’s blood samples out to IDEXX’s Reference Laboratories. Paws has already asked our veterinarian about this test, and have found the latter option is available to us.

    This coming Thursday, Dr. Roberta Relford, DVM, MS, PhD, Chief Medical Officer of IDEXX Laboratories who helped to research and develop the SDMA biomarker test, talks about kidney disease in cats. In a Q&A interview she addresses the impact of the new IDEXX SDMA test, the technology behind it, and the importance of screening your pets earlier than veterinarians were able to do before.

    Have you ever had a cat diagnosed with kidney disease? Have you had your cat tested for kidney disease with the new IDEXX SDMA test? Did you know how prevalent kidney disease is in cats? At Paws for Reflection, we certainly didn’t and we are happy to learn and share more about this very important topic.

    BJ Bangs is an award-winning journalist, photographer, and communication professional who is an aspiring author. She loves everything about cats, including visiting cool cat places and events and writing about them.


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