Idexx Unveils Kidney Test Breakthrough

A test being added to Idexx profiles may identify the onset of kidney disease about 17 months sooner in cats and dogs.

Idexx CEO Jonathan W. Ayers offers a toast during a celebration at the company’s NAVC booth in Orlando, Fla.

Ken Niedziela

A new test designed for the early detection of kidney disease in cats and dogs will be added to all routine reference laboratory chemistry profiles from Idexx Laboratories Inc.

The announcement was made Monday at the annual North American Veterinary Community conference in Orlando, Fla.

The test involves SDMA, or symmetric dimethylarginine, a renal biomarker that identifies the onset of kidney disease months or even years earlier than traditional diagnostic methods, Idexx reported.

Early detection gives veterinarians and pet owners more treatment options, the Westbrook, Maine, company added.

The test will become part of all routine reference profiles at no additional cost, Idexx stated.

“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,” said Idexx CEO and President Jonathan W. Ayers. “A rollout in our global reference laboratory network will extend into 2016.”

Oregon State University hinted at the development in November 2014, when it revealed the findings of an SDMA research project involving Idexx.

The clinical study, published in The Veterinary Journal, showed that SDMA identified the onset of kidney disease an average of 17 months earlier in cats and in one case four years earlier.

Chronic kidney disease is often diagnosed by measuring creatinine in blood.

“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,” Idexx reported. “Typically, a diagnosis is made when 75 percent of kidney function has been irreversibly lost. At this point, the prognosis can be poor.”

SDMA detects kidney disease when only 25 to 40 percent of function has been lost, the company added.

“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,” said Roberta L. Relford, DVM, MS, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM, Dipl. ACVP, Idexx’s vice president and chief medical officer.

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