New Kidney Test in Dogs & Cats

How Helpful Is the New Kidney Test in Dogs and Cats?

IDEXX Laboratories is in the process of rolling out a new test that they say “detects kidney disease in cats and dogs months or years earlier than standard screening technologies.” Is the SDMA (symmetric dimethylarginine) test really the breakthrough that it is advertised to be?
First some background…
The “standard screening technologies” to which IDEXX refers are the blood chemistry parameters blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine and urine specific gravity. When a veterinarian suspects that a dog or cat might have kidney disease, he or she will order blood tests and a urinalysis that include these parameters. If BUN and/or creatinine levels are found to be high and the urine specific gravity is low, a diagnosis of kidney disease can be made. The problem is that urine specific gravity only starts to fall once around two-thirds of kidney function has been lost, and BUN and creatinine rise when more than three-quarters of kidney function is gone. Relying on these findings means that we are diagnosing chronic kidney disease very late in the game.
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Hyperthyroidism in Cats - OVSH

Hyperthyroidism In Cats

Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine (hormone) disorder that affects cats. It creates a wide range of signs resulting from the overproduction of thyroid hormone made by the thyroid gland.What is the thyroid gland?
Location of thyroid gland in neck of catThe thyroid gland is small and consists of two lobes, one on each side of the trachea (windpipe) in the neck. This gland produces the major thyroid hormone called thyroxine (T4) and a small amount of another hormone, triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate the body’s metabolic rate and affect every system in the body. The production of the thyroid hormones is controlled by the hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is produced by the pituitary gland, which is found at the base of the brain.
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Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV)

What is feline leukemia virus?
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV), a retrovirus, so named because of the way it behaves within infected cells. All retroviruses, including feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), produce an enzyme, reverse transcriptase, which permits them to insert copies of their own genetic material into that of the cells they have infected. Although related, FeLV and FIV differ in many ways, including their shape: FeLV is more circular while FIV is elongated. The two viruses are also quite different genetically, and their protein consituents are dissimlar in size and composition. Although many of the diseases caused by FeLV and FIV are similar, the specific ways in which they are caused differs.
How common is the infection?
FeLV-infected cats are found worldwide, but the prevalence of infection varies greatly depending on their age, health, environment, and lifestyle. In the United States, approximately 2 to 3% of all cats are infected with FeLV. Rates rise significantly—13% or more—in cats that are ill, very young, or otherwise at high risk of infection.
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dog and cat

Finding the Causes of Cancer in Cats and Dogs

by Dr. Joanne Intile
Hearing the news that your pet has been diagnosed with cancer can be both devastating and terrifying at the same time. It is natural to have many questions about exactly what the diagnosis means, what might happen to your pet as the cancer progresses, and what options you have for treating the disease.
One of the most common questions I am asked by owners during an initial appointment is, “What caused my pet’s cancer?” I can definitely appreciate why this is an important piece of information they would want to understand. Unfortunately, this is a very difficult question to answer accurately, as in nearly all cases cancer is typically caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences, many of which may have occurred years before the diagnosis was made. Read more

feline hypothyroidismprepared and provided by:
Dr. Robert Franklin, D.V.M.,

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Feline Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disease seen in cats. The cause is excessive thyroid hormone produced most commonly from adenomatous hyperplasia (abnormal increase in the number of normal cells) or adenoma (benign tumor) of the thyroid gland. This will result in a multisystemic disease.

Clinical Signs:

Feline Hyperthyroidism occurs in middle-aged to older cats. The clinical signs can vary from very mild to severe. The most common signs of hyperthyroidism are weight loss with an increased appetite. Other signs include hyperactivity, poor hair coat, excessive drinking and urination, and intermittent vomiting and diarrhea.


The diagnosis is made from blood work measuring thyroxine T4 levels. Often, enlarged glands can be detected during routine physical examination.


There are currently 4 possible treatments for hyperthyroidism.
a) Medical Treatment– consists of the administration of methimazole (Felimazole®) up to three times daily. The drug blocks the secretion of T4 but does not remove the
tumorous thyroid gland. The drug is given for the rest of your cat’s life.
b) Surgery– removes the aected thyroid gland or glands and will cure hyperthyroidism.
c) Low Iodine Diet– Hill’s Prescription y/d. Feeding the y/d diet will help to manage your cat’s hyperthyroidism but will not cure the disease.
d) Radioactive Iodine I-131– will cure hyperthyroidism and is a single, under the skin injection.

Reasons for radioactive iodine therapy:

Medical therapy may not be the best choice for several reasons. Some cats can be extremely dicult to pill. Mild reactions are common, such as vomiting and loss of appetite. Severe adverse reactions can be seen in 5% of cats and include blood or liver problems. Periodic blood testing is necessary to monitor the cat’s condition Surgery is eective but does require anesthesia.
Because many cats with hyperthyroidism have heart problems secondary to their elevated T4 levels, they have a higher anesthetic risk. There is a chance that the parathyroid glands, vital structures associated with thyroid glands, can temporarily be damaged during surgery, resulting in low blood calcium. This is a life-threatening condition that may result in extra hospitalization and cost. Radioactive iodine does not require anesthesia or risk of parathyroid injury. Methimazole is not needed and must be discontinued for at least one week prior to treatment. Your cat will be hospitalized for 4 days after the injection. Iodine is used by the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. When injected, a large percentage of the I-131 accumulates in the thyroid glands. The rest is excreted in the urine and, to a lesser degree the feces. Once the radioactivity (Iodine 131 ) is taken up by the thyroid gland, gamma and beta rays are released and kill the abnormal thyroid cells, eectively treating the hyperthyroid condition. Iodine 131 is 95% eective in curing hyperthyroidism. In approximately 5% of treated cases, low T4 levels (hypothyroidism) can develop. This is easily controlled with supplementation and may not be permanent.

Responsibilities at home:

Upon discharge from the hospital, your cat will still be minimally radioactive. This level is very low but you still need to exercise a little caution and common sense. The radioactivity in your cat will gradually disappear over the next 2 to 4 weeks. During this time you will need to use flushable litter than can be disposed of via your toilet. You cannot throw the litter out with the
garbage. It is also recommended not to sleep with your cat during this time and to limit close contact (less than 12”) with your cat to one hour per day for the rst 2 weeks and 2 hours per day
for the following 2 weeks. Your cat will need to be conned to your house, garage, or yard during this time.


The amount of radiation in your cat is extremely low. If you were being treated for hyperthyroidism, you would receive up to 10 times the dose your cat receives and still go home on the same day of treatment. The amount of radiation you might receive from your cat would be roughly equivalent to that received when you y roundtrip across the country. You do not need to
worry about exposure to your other pets. It can take from 1 to 12 weeks for the thyroid level to return to normal. Blood work is recommended 4 to 6 weeks after treatment. If the thyroid level is still elevated, repeat blood work is again recommended 12 weeks after treatment. If the thyroid level is still elevated then the treatment is repeated at no charge. Once blood work is normal, only the routine care recommended and provided by your regular veterinarian is necessary.