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New Test for Cats and Dogs May Catch Kidney Disease Earlier

Posted December 17, 2015 in A Vet's Life

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What heart disease is for humans, kidney disease is for pets – a leading cause of suffering and death. In their lifetime, over 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will get kidney disease. And as pets get older, the likelihood they will develop kidney disease increases. In fact, more than half of cats over age 15 are afflicted. Until recently, veterinarians could not detect kidney disease until very late stages, when the kidneys have lost most of their function permanently. At this point, effective treatment options are limited.

Now IDEXX SDMA, a breakthrough new test that screens for kidney disease, changes that. Available to all veterinarians in the U.S., Canada and Europe via IDEXX Reference Laboratories, the IDEXX SDMA kidney test can detect this serious disease months to years earlier, when there is still time to do something about it. This is fantastic news, especially for our long suffering feline friends, as IDEXX SDMA can detect kidney disease when much of a pet’s kidney function is still intact. This gives you and your veterinarian the chance to take action and give your pet the best shot for a healthy, happy, long life even with kidney disease.

Why should I ask my veterinarian about IDEXX SDMA?
You probably get your cholesterol tested every year to mitigate your risk of heart disease. If your cholesterol is too high, your doctor recommends a lifestyle plan. Similarly, annual SDMA screening is an opportunity for you and your veterinarian to understand your pet’s health more completely. If IDEXX SDMA levels are increased, your veterinarian can prescribe a plan that could help preserve your pet’s kidneys. As the health advocate for your furry family members, be sure to ask your veterinarian for IDEXX SDMA at your pet’s next checkup. (Learn more about IDEXX SDMA screening for cats.)

What are the signs of kidney disease?
It’s important to know that kidney disease has no visible signs early on, which is why IDEXX SDMA is so important. As a natural defense against predators, cats actually hide disease, even when it is advanced. So cats, that are suffering most from kidney disease, can appear normal. While this serves them in the wild, it makes it very difficult for you to even know they are sick. In later stages, symptoms often include increased thirst, increased urination and subtle weight loss. Since all of the above can also be signs of other diseases, IDEXX SDMA, together with other screening tests, can help identify or rule out kidney disease.

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Roberta has more than 30 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of IDEXX as well as a proud member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network medical team.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer:

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.