A new frontier in preventing kidney disease

2016-07-05 06:00

KIDNEY disease is the number one killer of cats over seven years old (and two or three for dogs, depending on the survey).

Once an animal presents with obvious clinical signs of “uraemia” it’s a variable, but inevitable path downhill. So anything we can do to diagnose the disease early, will lengthen lifespan as earlier intervention = better results. Unfortunately, until now our tests of urine and blood could only detect kidney disease when 67% of renal function was already irreparably lost. Not anymore.

IDEXX laboratories have a new blood test, available from your vet, called SDMA, which can pick up only a 30% decline in kidney function – well before any clinical or other laboratory tests for “tubular disease” manifest.

This simple test has been up for almost three months and we have diagnosed a lot of uraemia-negative, SDMA-positive patients whose only life-saving intervention is – a change of diet. That alone lengthens life span, reduces emergency visits (e.g. for drips) and improves quality of life. In fact, SDMA can detect declining kidney function nine months earlier than other tests, in cats, and 14 months earlier in dogs. I am giving a lecture to the vets in JHB next month and this test, and Proactive, annual screening for pets 7+ years old is going to be a main focus of that talk. Let’s save lives together – screen old pets using the best tests available, and act on them.

- Dr Anthony Zambelli

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