Cats With Kidney Disease: Earlier Detection Available

Cats With Kidney Disease: Earlier Detection Available

Cats at risk for kidney disease

All cats are at risk for kidney disease

If you own or know of any older cats, chances are you know a few cats with kidney disease.  It was often referred to in cat circles as the real “old age” killer.  The big problem with kidney disease is that it is a silent killer and vets estimate that by the time of diagnosis, cats have lost 75% of their kidney function.  75% of irreversible damage! The standard test measured blood creatinine, but the test could not detect the disease until the later stages.  I’ve had two cats that suffered with kidney disease as older cats and it was hard to watch them waste away.  As a Professional Cat Sitter, I have numerous clients in various stages of kidney disease. It is estimated that one in three cats will develop some form of the disease with a poor prognosis due to the severity of the disease at diagnosis.

There is some good news on this front!  IDEXX Laboratories announced in January of 2015 that they were rolling out a new kidney function test call SDMA (symmetric dimethylarginine) with a new renal biomarker that can detect the beginning of kidney disease months or even years before the old test. Initial findings state on average the disease can be detected at around 40% of lost function.  That could mean years of quality life for our felines! 

The plan going forward was to roll out the tests in the summer of 2015, and they are here!  When I took my cat Ella in for a check up at Charlotte Street Animal Hospital, Dr. Amber explained the new test which is offered in the routine blood panel for cats.  Ella is only 2 years old so I declined for now, she was having a very pleasant visit with Dr. Amber and I wanted to build her confidence in vet appointments.  I am planning on having my two 8 year old cats tested this year during their annual checkups.  While kidney disease is still a silent killer, the SDMA test will give us more time and ammunition to fight kidney disease and more peace of mind when the findings are within normal ranges.


Feline Kidney Disease

Idexx Article

 Suzette at risk for kidney diseaseGypsy at risk for kidney disease
Gypsy and Suzette will both have the test done this year during their annual checkup.


  1. thank you, Penny! I’m not sure that test was done on my 16 yr old Flanagan…He has kidney disease diagnosis now. Maybe I could have found out months ago…hmm…a whole lot of time in ‘cat year’ calculations”

    • Penny Martin says:

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