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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