All about SDMA

Kidney disease – a silent and prolific killer

The stats on pet kidney disease are pretty alarming. Over the course of their life, 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will suffer from some form of the disease. It’s also often referred to as a ‘silent killer’ as by the time pets show symptoms, it has already reached an advanced stage.

SDMA – The new test changing the face of pet kidney disease

A new and simple blood test is changing things for the better for Aussies pets and their owners. Read on to learn more about kidney disease, how it affects pets, the signs to watch out for, the new SDMA early detection test and tips for caring for pets with kidney disease.

This nifty test helps vets detect kidney function loss much earlier than previous tests – 45% loss as opposed to 75% loss.

Vets can then put proactive plans in place to help preserve pets’ kidney function, thereby giving them a better quality of life and hopefully, a much longer one too.

What is kidney disease?

Kidneys are amazing little work horses in both humans and animals. These organs do all sorts of vital things like filter blood, process waste, balance body water levels and maintain red blood cells. 

When they’re working at good capacity, all is well. But a dip in kidney function (which is the definition of kidney disease) has all sorts of consequences and if chronic, it can lead to failure. In pets, it’s pretty hard to detect until things start to get really bad and not much can be done to help.

Kidney disease in cats and dogs
There are two types of kidney problems in pets: acute and chronic. Acute are short-term problems such as infections or blockages. Chronic refers to long-term or life-long issues that in many cases, lead to kidney failure. Generally speaking, if acute problems occur frequently, this can be considered a precursor to chronic kidney disease. Some acute problems cause so much damage they turn into a chronic condition.

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Both cats and dogs exhibit very similar signs when it comes to CKD. Unfortunately, these symptoms usually appear in the later stage of the disease.

  • Increased/excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Subtle weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath with a chemical odour
  • Mouth sores

Did you know that 1 in every 3 Cats and 1 in every 10 Dogs get kidney disease?

Common causes
  • Toxins
  • Infections
  • Cancer
  • Kidney stones & associated blockages
  • Inflammation & damage to tubes and/or filters
  • Hereditary diseases in some breeds

Any of the above can lead to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Waiting is the enemy when it comes to CKD. The longer you do, the more chance your pet’s kidney function will be severely reduced, permanently so. At this stage, treatment options are pretty limited, particularly as dialysis and transplants are not common for pets.

But there is some good news. A new blood test is giving vets the opportunity to detect kidney problems at a much earlier stage.

Tips for pets with CKD
  1. Give ‘em lots of fresh water
  2. Ensure they have quick & easy access to ‘go potty’ (ask a neighbour/friend/family member to help during the work day if need be)
  3. Consult with your vet to make sure they have a kidney-friendly diet
  4. Keep on top of any associated protein or high blood pressure issues with regular vet checks
  5. Be patient with them & their increased needs

The importance of an annual vet visit

As a responsible fur-parent, it’s likely you schedule an annual vet visit for furry friend, right? If so, this is the ideal time to ask your vet to include the SDMA test in routine bloodwork.

All our Fur Life vets have the capability to run the SDMA test and will happily include it for you so everyone is well in the know. After all, the early you find out there’s a problem, the better the outcome for your pet.

If you haven’t quite got around to scheduling that yearly health check, go ahead and give your vet a call. Your pet and their kidneys will thank you for it!

If you’re worried your pet is showing symptoms of possible kidney disease, don’t wait for your yearly check. Make an appointment pronto.