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Biomarker could provide early warning of kidney disease in cats

Researchers from Oregon State University and other institutions have developed a biomarker, “SDMA,” that can provide earlier identification of chronic kidney disease in cats.

The findings were made in a controlled study of 32 healthy, older cats. The study demonstrated the efficacy of a biomarker that could form the basis for a new diagnostic test. The SDMA 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. With special diets and care, some cats have lived several years after the disease was diagnosed.

The only existing test for the disease, which has been used for decades, is a blood test that checks creatinine levels, a marker of the breakdown of muscle protein. However, cats lose lean body mass as they age, so creatinine levels may be normal. SDMA is not influenced by lean body mass and thus more accurately diagnoses the loss of kidney function, even if lean body mass has decreased.

The cats in the study were housed at the Science and Technology Center of Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. The company provided data and samples for analysis in order to better understand the dietary needs of cats with early renal disease, and initiated the study to investigate how best to lengthen and enrich the lives of cats with the condition.

Source:  OSU College of Veterinary Medicine et al., 2014. Biomarker could provide early warning of kidney disease in cats. Oregon State University online, November 2014.

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