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Stem Cells from Fat May Help Fight Kidney Disease in Cats

Reviewed by Bill Saxon DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC on Monday, July 11, 2016
Posted July 14, 2016 in A Pet's Life

So much of what we know about cat health has at one time or another been funded by the Winn Feline Foundation, everything from identification and treatment of many feline diseases to continuing work on kidney disease in cats. Dr. Jessica Quimby is researching whether or not stem cells taken from fat may help to treat kidney disease in cats.

Quimby says that it’s gotten so that if a cat lives long enough, odds are pretty good that the cat will suffer some kidney disease.

The good news is that new technology helps to discover kidney disease in cats (and also dogs) earlier than ever. Symmetric dimethylarginine or SDMA is a simple blood test offered through IDEXX as part of a regular blood chemistry panel.

Before IDEXX SDMA™, by the time kidney disease was discovered, about 75 percent of kidney function was gone. Using SDMA testing, kidney disease is typically diagnosed far earlier, while the loss of function hasn’t yet affected quality of life.

Quimby is mostly focused on finding a way to treat that kidney disease, and suggests with funding from Winn, use of stem cell technology might be used as a treatment.

Quimby, a professor at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, uses adipose stem cells (derived from fat) to provide the ground work for stem cell therapy in cats. It’s too early to tell what – if any role – stem cells may have to benefit cats with kidney disease. The use of stem cells is also promising for cats with inflammatory bowel disease.


If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Steve Dale, a contributing member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team, is a certified animal behavior consultant, and co-editor of “Decoding Your Dog,” authored by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists,” and is host of several pet radio shows. Steve’s blog is

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The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.