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Feline kidney disease can be hard to detect until it becomes serious. Photo courtesy of IDEXX

Cats are very subtle when it comes to illness. They can’t just come up to you and say, “Hey, Mom, I’m not feeling good,” and then tell you exactly what’s going on. That’s why preventive screenings, particularly for senior cats, are crucial to your furry friend’s ongoing health.

This post is sponsored by Pet Health Network® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help create awareness for the importance of the IDEXX SDMA™ kidney screening test for pets, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Neither Pet Health Network® or IDEXX is responsible for the content of this article.

Did you know that more than one in three cats will develop kidney disease during their lifetime? Not only that, but at least half of cats over the age of 15 are affected. One of those is my beloved Thomas T. Bombadil, Top Cat and King of All Western Cats.

The only sign I saw of a potential problem was that I noticed Thomas drinking a lot of water. And naturally, the result was that he peed a lot. I knew this could be one of the signs of kidney disease in cats, so I took him right to the vet. His blood work revealed that his creatinine level, a measure of kidney function, had gone up from 2.6 to 3.5, an indicator that he was solidly in Stage II kidney disease, if not Stage III.

This was kind of a shock to me, considering that he’d been getting regular vet care and he’d been at the top of his game, health-wise, for a 15-year-old cat, just six months before.

Portrait of a tabby cat. #AskYourVet about a new test for feline kidney disease.

Thomas was recently diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

The discovery of Thomas’s kidney disease underscored for me just how important it is to take your cat in for regular preventive care.

And it made me wonder if my vet would have been able to detect Thomas’s kidney disease earlier, and therefore help me start managing it earlier, if the IDEXX SDMA test had been available last year.

The IDEXX SDMA test is a new test for chronic kidney disease in cats (and in dogs, too!) months to years earlier than standard blood work can. It’s available to vets across the US, Canada and Europe from IDEXX Reference Laboratories.

This is great news because when your cat is diagnosed with kidney disease using regular blood work diagnostics such as creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels, cats only have about 25 to 30 percent of their kidney function remaining. The SDMA, on the other hand, can detect kidney disease while your kitty’s kidney function is still pretty much intact.

Since there are so many things that can be done to manage feline kidney disease and retain kidney function–including hydration through subcutaneous fluids and diet changes–a cat whose disease is detected earlier has a chance to live much longer. By the time a cat is diagnosed with Stage III kidney disease using regular blood work, the typical life span is about 2 years after diagnosis. What that means to me is that my time with Thomas may be shorter than I had anticipated. But if the diagnosis had occurred earlier in Thomas’s disease process, I could have been looking at a much longer, and much higher quality, life with him.

I’d encourage you, for your cat’s sake, to take your kitty to the vet regularly and have the IDEXX SDMA test done so you can tell early on whether your cat has chronic kidney disease. What are you waiting for? Go and #AskYourVet today. And keep up with the latest developments about cat health by following the Pet Health Network Facebook page.

#AskYourVet about the IDEXX SDMA test.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of IDEXX. The opinions and text are all mine.

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