New test detects kidney disease in cats and dogs much earlier than standard screening technologies

On January 19, at the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) in Orlando, Fla., IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. announced an upcoming kidney function test, symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA). The new renal biomarker identifies the onset of kidney disease months or even years earlier than traditional methods.

In a recent clinical study, Oregon State University researchers showed that SDMA identified disease much earlier in the disease progression, when the kidney had suffered far less damage that results in permanent loss of function—up to four years earlier in at least one animal.

Typically, a diagnosis is made when 75% of kidney function has been irreversibly lost, at which point, the prognosis can be poor. However, on average, SDMA detected kidney disease when only 40% of function had been lost and, in some cases, 25% of function.

"Until now, it hasn’t been possible to detect kidney disease until late in the course of the disease," said Roberta L. Relford, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM, DACVP, vice president and chief medical officer of IDEXX Laboratories. "The ability to diagnose kidney disease earlier will enable veterinarians and pet owners to care for affected pets in a way that enhances their well-being and may even extend their lives."

IDEXX plans to include the SDMA kidney test in all routine reference laboratory chemistry profiles at no additional cost and with the same rapid turnaround time. Its customers can easily add an SDMA test to their in-house chemistry profiles by running a stand-alone SDMA test at IDEXX Reference Laboratories. This will enable veterinarians to diagnose kidney disease earlier, including during routine preventive care testing, while there is still enough kidney function for more effective intervention and disease management.

"We expect to begin trials with several hundred customers in North America by March and to roll out the test as part of the routine chemistry panel in the North American market this summer. A roll-out in our global reference laboratory network will extend into 2016," said Jonathan W. Ayers, president and chief executive officer of IDEXX Laboratories.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a leading cause of suffering and death in cats and dogs. In time, one in three cats and one in 10 dogs will develop some form of the disease. Until today, kidney disease has been routinely diagnosed in part by measuring blood creatinine. However, creatinine alone cannot detect kidney disease until late in the disease process, limiting the opportunity to extend the life of the pet through treatment options.

Veterinarians who wish to learn more about the technology and treatment protocols can visit IDEXX Laboratories’ website.

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