When a cat’s kidneys are gone, they are gone forever! In early July, I asked my cats’ veterinarian to run an IDEXX SDMA™ test on Manna. This is a new laboratory test that can detect kidney disease in cats months to years sooner than other tests. Getting Manna tested has given me peace of mind. Allow me to explain why I think that you should ask your veterinarian about this test too.
The Importance of Testing for Kidney Disease in Cats
Why did I ask my veterinarian to give Manna an IDEXX SDMA™ test? Kidney disease is a leading cause of death in cats. Statistics show that 1 in 3 cats will develop kidney disease in their lifetime. Manna is now a 9-year-old kitty and the chances of a cat developing kidney disease increase with age. In fact, 13% of cats Manna’s age (more than 1 in 10 cats) will already have kidney disease. By the time a cat is 15 years old, more than half of cats will be affected.
Manna had been acting a little unusual at the time we had the test done. She wasn’t eating as well and she was hiding a bit. It is always a bit nervewracking for a cat owner to see a kitty showing symptoms of illness. All too often, cats will hide all of their symptoms until the disease has progressed so far that they can’t hide it anymore. This was the case with my Cinco and his cancer. We never had a clue he was sick until the cancer was so far progressed, that we had to say goodbye.
It turned out that all of Manna’s blood work, urinalysis, and SDMA numbers looked great. Whew! There was no sign of any illness being present. The veterinarian and I decided that the changes I had noticed in Manna’s behavior were likely caused by stress. We had only adopted Dexter about 2 weeks prior and I had been gone to the BlogPaws Conference for a couple of days. Now, nearly 2 months later, Manna is doing great! Due to her age, we will recheck her again in a few months.
3 Benefits of the IDEXX SDMA™ Test
The IDEXX SDMA test is only one form of testing for kidney disease in cats. Creatinine tests, BUN tests, and urinalysis’ are also used to discover how a cat’s kidneys are functioning. However, the IDEXX SDMA test can detect kidney disease in cats earlier than any other form of testing.
This test shows the levels of Symmetric DiMethylArginine (SDMA), which is a chemical excreted almost exclusively by the kidneys. The function of a cat’s kidneys must be 75% depleted in order for creatinine tests to begin indicating kidney disease. However, SDMA levels will show kidney disease in cats when the kidney function is only 40% depleted.
Earlier detection of kidney disease in cats has 3 major benefits:
- An Opportunity to Investigate
The earlier kidney disease can be detected, the more likely your veterinarian will have time to investigate causes and solutions. Sometimes kidney disease is the primary disease, while other times there is another disease (diabetes, cancer, hyperthyroidism, etc) that is causing the kidney disease. There may be a condition present that you didn’t know about.
- Ability to Manage the Condition
Once the function is lost in the kidneys, it is gone forever. The more function that is still left in your cat’s kidneys, the more you can do to save that function and slow the progression of the disease. Earlier management of kidney disease can mean a longer life for your cat!
Knowing that your cat has kidney disease, your veterinarian can help you to monitor your cat’s health. Retesting from time to time can help you to see which treatments are helping the most and adjust accordingly.
What to Expect at the Veterinarian’s Office
Ask your veterinarian about using the IDEXX SDMA test with your cat at your next visit! The IDEXX SDMA test is available to all veterinarians through the IDEXX Reference Laboratories. Many veterinarians are all ready to perform this test on both cats and dogs. In Manna’s case, the IDEXX SDMA test was already included in a wellness package through our veterinarian. I was very happy to see that! You can follow The Pet Health Network on Facebook for health tips and all of the latest on IDEXX tests.
Testing for kidney disease in cats with the IDEXX SDMA test is very simple. Your veterinarian will likely want to talk to you about your cat’s history and perform a physical exam. The SDMA test itself will require a blood sample from your cat. This can be drawn while your veterinarian is getting the samples for all of your cat’s routine bloodwork. Your veterinarian may also recommend a urinalysis be performed.
Is this traumatic for your cat? Not really. They forget about it pretty fast. Manna was far more upset about the vet tech clipping her nails (she’s just not a mani/pedi sort of girl) than she was about any of the other parts of her visit with the veterinarian.
Your veterinarian will have to send the blood samples out to a laboratory to complete the testing. It doesn’t take much time to get the results – the same about of time as any other lab work the veterinarian sends out. Manna’s results came back in 2 business days.
When the results come back, your veterinarian will provide an interpretation for you. At that time, if kidney disease is suspected, they will discuss a treatment plan and future rechecks of the SDMA level with you. Treatment could include medications, dietary changes, supplements, changes in habits and more. Other tests may be necessary to learn more about your cat’s kidneys or any other conditions that are suspected.
Has your cat had the IDEXX SDMA test?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of IDEXX. The opinions and text are all mine.