A new kidney function test, called symmetric dimethylarginine or SDMA, now has the potential of identifying the onset of kidney disease in pets months or even years earlier than other traditional testing methods. This is exciting news for dog and cat owners.
IDEXX unveiled the test at the North American Veterinary Conference in January 2015. SDMA testing was launched in the U.S. in early July, and since that time, IDEXX reported that over 9,000 clinics have submitted more than 200,000 specimens to IDEXX Reference Laboratories for SDMA testing.
“We are excited about this new test because it is not always possible to cure or reverse advanced renal disease in our pets. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to preserve the quality of life for our patients,” said Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital (BMAH). “Our goal at BMAH is to diagnose kidney disease in dogs and cats as early as possible so that we can prevent and slow down the progression of the disease.”
It took years of research and clinical studies before this test was brought to market. In August 2015,
IDEXX reported 27 peer-reviewed articles had been published following an extensive pilot launch involving over 600 veterinary practices in the U.S. and Canada. They also reported more than 50,000 SDMA tests were successfully run and used to diagnose potential kidney disease.
“Most traditional blood tests do not detect kidney disease until 75% loss of function,” added Dr. Martins. “The SDMA test can detect kidney disease at 40% loss of function. That’s a huge advantage for pets and vets. This new ability to detect earlier kidney disease with an SDMA test can greatly help veterinarians and pet owners diagnose, manage and protect pets much sooner. It’s important to remember our pets can’t advocate for themselves, and many outward symptoms of kidney disease go unnoticed until the really late stages of the disease.”
In some cases, kidney disease is genetic and can affect pets at any age. There are many causes and subtle signs of kidney disease in both dogs and cats that pet owners need to be aware of.
“Older pets are more susceptible to quiet, underlying illnesses like inflammatory diseases, infections, or dental diseases that could be damaging kidneys without anyone knowing about it,” continued Dr. Martins. “The medical terminology for kidney disease is renal disease. There is acute and chronic kidney disease. There are four stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) or chronic renal disease (CRD). With CKD or CRD, the process progresses slowly over months to years. CKD is very common in cats and dogs, but especially common in seniors over seven years. In geriatric pets usually over ten years, the kidneys can degenerate or lose function due to all the factors that old age brings.”
Your veterinarian can now help you protect your pets earlier and better if given the chance. Dr. Martins says there is an old adage; if you don’t look, you can’t find. Prevention is the best medicine. Ask your veterinarian about getting baseline blood tests including a SDMA test on your pet.
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. serves veterinarians with a broad range of diagnostic and information technology-based products and services. Learn more about SDMA testing on the IDEXX website.
Read more here from the National Pet Health Examiner.