When it comes to Feline Kidney Disease, knowledge is much of the battle. If we don’t know that a disease is present, how are we supposed to help our cats fight it? Lucky for our kitties, IDEXX has introduced a brand new way of testing for Feline Kidney Disease (the IDEXX SDMA™ Kidney Screening Test) that may change what we know about this fatal disease.
The Fight of Their Lifetime: Cats vs. Feline Kidney Disease
A cat’s kidneys work as a filtration device for their blood. A network of tiny filters, known as nephron, work to remove toxins from the blood, regulate the amount of water in the blood and do other important regulatory functions. Having functional kidneys is essential to a cat’s survival.
Cats are born with a certain number of nephrons. Some of the nephrons are used while are held in reserve. Over time, normal wear and tear, as well as disease, and other environmental factors cause nephrons to die. As these nephrons die, the reserve nephrons take over. Nephrons are not regenerated in the cat’s body, so when they are all gone, the kidneys cease to function.
The statistics regarding feline kidney disease are truly frightening. In their lifetime, more than 1 in 3 cats are likely to develop feline kidney disease. A cat’s chances of developing kidney disease go up as he/she ages. Over half of cats will have developed feline kidney disease by the time they reach 15 years of age. This is a fight that doesn’t look good for cats!
Sizing Up the Opponent: Standard Kidney Tests
Unfortunately, our cats can’t speak in human words and let us know that they aren’t feeling well. In fact, cats are notorious for hiding symptoms of illness for as long as they possibly can. This means that by the time you, as a cat owner, notice any symptoms, the feline kidney disease is already significantly developed in your cat’s body. Regular blood work, performed by a veterinarian, is really the only way to detect this disease early enough to treat it.
Traditionally, veterinarians use 3 main tests to detect kidney disease (your veterinarian may also use other tests):
- A blood test for Creatinine levels.
Creatinine is a waste product that is created by your cat’s muscles. In healthy cats, Creatinine is removed from the blood by the kidneys. Elevated Creatinine levels in your cat’s blood may indicate that your cat’s kidneys are not functioning well.
- A BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) test.
Urea Nitrogen is a waste product created by the cat’s liver that is usually passed out of the body through urine. When your cat’s kidneys are not functioning properly, Urea Nitrogen can build up in the kidneys. A high BUN level may indicate problems with your cat’s kidneys.
- A urine test (looking for dilute urine).
Your cat’s kidneys regulate the amount of water that remains in his/her bloodstream. When kidneys begin to fail, more water begins to get passed into the urine, causing the urine to be diluted. Diluted urine may be a sign that your cat has feline kidney disease.
All of these tests must be interpreted by a licenced veterinarian. Don’t assume anything about the results your cat’s testing until you have discussed them with your veterinarian. Feline Kidney Disease is not always a stand-alone disease. Sometimes cats have other diseases that affect the way their kidneys function.
A New Contender Enters the Ring: IDEXX SDMA Kidney Screening Test
Unfortunately, by the time elevated Creatinine levels are found, your cat may already be losing the fight to Feline Kidney Disease. Up to 75% of your cat’s kidney function is already lost when the Creatinine test first picks up the signs. This leaves cat owners and veterinarians scrambling to quickly find a cause for the loss of kidney function and to create a treatment plan.
The good news is that there is a new fighter on your cat’s side! The IDEXX SDMA Kidney Screening Test can detect signs of Feline Kidney Disease earlier than any other test. On average, the IDEXX SDMA Kidney Screening Test shows loss of kidney function in cats when only 40% of kidney function is lost! That is a huge victory for cats! Follow The Pet Health Network® on Facebook to keep up with
The IDEXX SDMA Kidney Screening Test tests for a chemical called Symmetric Dimethylarginine (SDMA). It is a form of the amino acid ArgiDimethylargininea cat’s cells. SDMA is excreted almost exclusively by the kidneys. Here are the benefits:
- Earlier Diagnosis
Studies show that SDMA can be detected in a cat’s blood an average of 17 months earlier the Creatinine. This may make it easier to slow the progression of the disease with a proper treatment plan.
- SDMA is Unaffected by Muscle Mass
Sometimes thin cats can a decrease in Creatinine levels (due to loss of muscle) even though their kidney function is also decreasing. This can make the diagnosis of Feline Kidney Disease more difficult. However, SDMA levels are not affected by a cat’s muscle mass. The IDEXX SDMA Kidney Screening Test gives a much more accurate result for thin cats.
- Increases Awareness of Other Potential Diseases
In many cases of Feline Kidney Disease found through traditional testing, the cause of the disease is unknown. SDMA could give your veterinarian a better chance at finding any underlying causes that may exist for your cat’s kidney failure. Awareness of all of your cat’s ailments can lead to better, more effective treatment plans.
Ask your veterinarian for the IDEXX SDMA Kidney Test for your cats! You could give them a fighting chance against Feline Kidney Disease.
Do you plan to have your cat tested for Feline Kidney Disease in the next year?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pet Health Network®. The opinions and text are all mine.