This post is sponsored by Pet Health Network® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help create awareness for the importance of the IDEXX SDMA™ kidney screening test for pets, but I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers. Neither Pet Health Network® or IDEXX is responsible for the content of this article.
If you could detect kidney disease in your cat well before it wreaked havoc on her health, would you do it? I know I would. Up until recently, I never gave a lot of thought about kidney disease in cats. It just didn’t cross my mind. I’ve dealt with other issues: feline diabetes, cat acne, even cats that were allergic to each other. But kidney disease? It just wasn’t on my radar.
Then our cat Prue started to lose weight. It was subtle at first. Prue has always been a long and lanky cat, but we noticed that she seemed a bit more drawn in the face. At first, we thought it was due to her dental issues. Prue has some sort of genetic issue that has caused a lot of problems with her teeth. She’s had several pulled over the years, and when one is bothering her, she eats less (makes sense, right?). We took her to the vet, they pulled another tooth, gave her antibiotics and sent us home.
Months later, Prue started losing weight again. She’d gain, she’d lose. She’d get really sick for a while, then bounce back. We were seeing multiple vets at the time. We used to have an amazing vet, but sadly, he passed away. Every vet seemed to tell us something different. It wasn’t until recently that we finally found a new vet that we really like, and he suggested that Prue may have kidney disease. At this point, we’re doing the best we can to keep her healthy. Right now, she’s on an upswing. Sadly, though, I’m afraid that waiting so long for the right diagnose may have significantly shortened Prue’s lifespan.
If I knew there was a test that could determine her risk of kidney disease months, or even years, earlier, I definitely would have gotten in.
The Facts About Kidney Disease In Cats
Did you know that 1 in 3 cats will develop some form of kidney disease throughout their lifetime? That means, statistically speaking, one of those three kitties in that adorable picture will be affected. The scary part? Most cats don’t show any major signs until the advances stages of the disease.
Kidney disease is to cats what heart disease is to us. It’s a leading cause of suffering and death in our feline companions. Like heart disease, it’s often silent…until it’s not. While kidney disease can strike at any age, your cat’s risk of developing it increases as they get older. More than half of all cats over age 15 are affected. Prue is just about 13.
How Can the New IDEXX SDMA™ Screening Test Help Catch it Early?
IDEXX SDMA™ is a new screening test for cats and dogs that can detect kidney disease months to years earlier, giving you a chance to do something about it. For cats, the test can even detect the disease before it affects kidney function. Think of it this way: your doctor tests your cholesterol regularly to help head off heart disease, right? Well IDEXX SDMA™ is like that, except for kidney disease in pets.
The “SDMA” stands for symmetric dimethylarginine. I’m not great at explaining science stuff, so bear with me here for a minute. Basically, SDMA is a chemical in your cats body that’s left over after other nutrients are broken down, and it’s primarily processed through the kidneys. Working kidneys process it pretty well, so the levels will be within normal range. SDMA increases earlier than creatinine in Chronic Kidney Disease. SDMA increases on average with 40% loss of kidney function versus creatinine, which does not show an increase until 75% of kidney function is lost.
The alternative test for determining kidney function look at your cat’s creatinine levels. Unfortunately, those levels really only spike enough to send up warning flags when your cat’s kidneys are already functioning at 75% less than optimal level. Not until much more advanced stages of Chronic Kidney Disease.
According to our vet, for thinner cats like Prue, testing creatinine levels becomes even less reliable. SDMA is specific for kidney function. It is not impacted by extrarenal factors (layman’s terms: factors outside the kidneys) that impact creatinine. In particular, it is not impacted by lean body mass so it will more accurately reflect GFR in underweight dogs and cats (like geriatric felines or pets with cancer).
Testing SDMA level gives you a chance to find out much earlier, typically when your cat’s kidney function is only 40% affected. This gives you a much better chance of coming up with the right treatment plan with your vet’s help.
IDEXX SDMA™ is available through your veterinarian. If you think there’s even a chance your cat could be showing signs of kidney disease, make an appointment right now. Otherwise, talk to your vet at your cat’s next routine appointment to request the screening test. The earlier we can catch this disease, the better chance our feline friends have of remaining a part of our lives for years to come.
Ask your veterinarian for the IDEXX SDMA™ kidney screening test.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pet Health Network®. The opinions and text are all mine.