More than 8,000 veterinary clinics within America have submitted over 100,000 specimens to IDEXX Reference Laboratories for symmetric dimethylarginine, or SDMA, testing in just the first 10 days since the breakthrough kidney function test launched in the U.S. to help the fight against chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is a leading cause of suffering and death in cats and dogs.
The results from the submitted specimens are consistent with generally accepted kidney disease prevalence data showing that 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs tested demonstrate some form of kidney disease over their lifetime. Veterinary practitioners are already realizing tremendous benefits from the SDMA test, which is now automatically included in all routine chemistry panels from IDEXX Reference Laboratories, at no additional cost and with no increase in their rapid turnaround time.
Veterinarian surveys indicate the profession is poised to shift to a higher standard of care by utilizing SDMA to diagnose kidney disease. A recent survey of 440 veterinarians and practice managers shows that veterinarians understand and believe in the benefits of SDMA, and are ready to begin using the new parameter in their practice standards. Overall, 91% of those surveyed plan to use SDMA results in evaluating kidney function.
In fact, 74% of respondents believe that having SDMA in the routine chemistry panel will lead to an increase in the frequency of preventive care chemistry testing. Significantly, 88% of customers surveyed who do not currently use IDEXX as their primary reference lab plan to submit samples to IDEXX for SDMA testing.
“IRIS recognizes that SDMA is a new biomarker for renal dysfunction that can allow for earlier detection of chronic kidney disease,” said Astrid M. van Dongen, DVM, DipRNVA (Internal Medicine), president of the IRIS board and associate professor of internal medicine/nephrology, faculty of veterinary medicine, UtrechtUniversity. “SDMA has the potential to expand diagnostic insight and therapeutic opportunities for veterinarians caring for pets with this critical disease.”
IRIS is the International Renal Interest Society, a board of 15 world-renowned independent veterinarians with particular expertise in nephrology, from 10 different countries.
SDMA is a groundbreaking new kidney biomarker that identifies the onset of kidney disease months or even years earlier than traditional methods, greatly expanding clinical insights and treatment options in cats and dogs. The test arrived on the market following an extensive pilot launch involving over 600 veterinary practices and after eight years of research and clinical studies that have culminated in the publication of 27 peer-reviewed scientific and clinical publications to date.
“Kidney disease is a serious illness for both cats and dogs, one that takes pets’ lives too often because it is detected too late,” said Trish Auge, DVM, of A Cat Hospital in Henderson, Nev. “The ability to identify chronic kidney disease earlier with SDMA means that my clients and I can intervene and potentially help pets to live longer and healthier lives.”
Until now, kidney disease has been routinely diagnosed in part by measuring blood creatinine. However, creatinine is limited in that it cannot detect kidney disease until late in the disease process, and it is known to have poor sensitivity in pets with low muscle mass. Traditionally, a diagnosis is made when 75% of kidney function has been irreversibly lost. At this point, the prognosis is usually very poor. In recent clinical studies at Texas A&M University and Oregon State University, research revealed that SDMA identified disease much earlier in the disease progression, when the kidneys had suffered far less damage.
The Oregon State University study demonstrated SDMA detected CKD up to four years earlier in at least one animal. On average, SDMA detected kidney disease when only 40%—and in some cases 25%—of function had been lost.
“Test results indicating increased SDMA in a 6-year-old, female golden retriever identified abnormal kidney function and gave us the confidence to perform a more comprehensive kidney workup,” said Andrea Kirsch, DVM, of Natomas Veterinary Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., a participant in early clinical trials for SDMA and a coauthor of a case report on SDMA. “Without this latest innovation from IDEXX, we would have missed a valuable opportunity for early intervention in managing, treating and monitoring this patient’s disease.”
With over 100,000 clinical data points, it is clear that SDMA identifies significantly more pets with kidney disease than creatinine can. In these patients, earlier detection allows veterinarians to investigate for underlying causes, treat those causes, manage the patient according to the appropriate International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) stage, and customize an appropriate monitoring plan, all with the goal of slowing the progression of CKD.
The SDMA test will be available in Canadian routine chemistry panels later this summer. A rollout in IDEXX’s Global Reference Laboratory network will extend into 2016.