By Ygal Kaufman
OSU researchers have participated with other institutions in the development of a new biomarker, called SDMA, which purports to identify chronic kidney issues in cats. Once identified, treating kidney disease with diet and other options can add significant time to cats’ lives. This could also lead to savings in veterinary costs for the care of cats suffering from these problems later in life.
Kidney disease (renal failure) is the 2nd leading cause of cat death, and according to a recent study of cases at Banfield, the large chain of veterinary hospitals, found 1 in 12 of their feline patients were suffering from sort of kidney failure. The problems frequently start at around age 7 for cats, and tend to get worse with age.
In the controlled study with 32 older cats, renal failure was detected an average 17 months sooner than with existing traditional measures. This is a major advance in extending cats lives. Since symptoms of kidney shut down can often be non-specific, such as vomiting or loss of appetite, it’s crucial to diagnose the problem as soon as possible. And since damage from kidney disease is usually irreversible, preventing or postponing its onset can add not only years, but active and healthy years to cats lives.
The next step will be a commercially viable test utilizing the SDMA marker. It could soon become a common and widely used option in the fight against feline renal failure.