By Dr. Roberta Relford, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM, DAVCP, as originally published on IDEXX's Pet Health Network 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. and Canada, the 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 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 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 SDMA levels are elevated, 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 SDMA at your pet's next checkup.
What are the signs of kidney disease?
It's important to know that kidney disease has no visible signs early on, which is why SDMA is so important. Cats, who suffer the most from kidney disease, actually hide disease as a natural defense against predators. 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, urination and subtle weight loss. Since all of the above can also be general signs of sickness, one added benefit of the SDMA test is that it can quickly rule out kidney disease, giving you peace of mind that your pet is free from this common but serious condition.
What if SDMA shows my pet has signs of early kidney disease?
SDMA helps your veterinarian take note of signs of kidney disease much earlier. If your pet is diagnosed with kidney disease, SDMA test results can also help you and your veterinarian understand how far the disease has progressed. This additional insight allows your veterinarian to develop the most appropriate and cost-effective treatment plan, tailored to your pet's individual needs, while there is still time to impact their health and wellbeing.
Does my veterinarian offer SDMA screening?
The SDMA test is available to all veterinarians in the U.S. and Canada. Even better, 2 in 5 veterinarians in the U.S. are already including SDMA in their routine testing, almost always at no added cost. If your veterinary hospital is not doing so, just ask your veterinarian to send your pet's samples to IDEXX's Reference Laboratories.
You want to provide the best possible care for your pets. Earlier diagnosis and monitoring of this very serious illness with SDMA gives you the perfect opportunity to so.
[Learn more about SDMA]