Early warning sign for feline kidney disease found

Researchers from Oregon State University and IDEXX Laboratories have identified symmetrical dimethylarginine (SDMA) as a new biomarker that can provide earlier identification of chronic kidney disease in cats, OSU reports.

When coupled with regular wellness visits, testing based on this biomarker could help pet owners and their veterinarians identify and treat this problem with diet or other therapies.

The results of the study of 32 healthy, geriatric cats were published in The Veterinary Journal by researchers from OSU and IDEXX. They demonstrated the efficacy of a biomarker that could form the basis for a new diagnostic test.

Highlights from the study include:

 The correlation between SDMA and Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is stronger than that for creatinine and GFR.

 Serum SDMA concentration is not affected by total lean mass.

 Older cats have lower GFR and serum creatinine concentrations than younger cats.

 Unlike creatinine, which declines with age, SDMA increases as GFR declines with age.

 Serum SDMA is a more sensitive indicator of change in renal function in older cats.


"Chronic kidney disease is common in geriatric cats and often causes their death," said Jean Hall, a small animal medical expert and professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine in an OSU press release. "Damage from it is irreversible, but this is an important advance, in that we should be able to identify the problem earlier and use special diets to slow the disease."

Many of these same health issues also relate to older dogs, and in continued research scientists believe they may make similar findings.


This biomarker was able to identify the onset of kidney disease in cats on average 17 months earlier than any existing approach, and in at least one case four years earlier, the study shows.

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