WESTBROOK, Maine, July 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDXX) announced today that a breakthrough kidney function test, called symmetric dimethylarginine or SDMA, will now be automatically included in all routine chemistry panels from IDEXX Reference Laboratories in the U.S. at no additional cost and with the same rapid turnaround time as routine chemistry panels.
This groundbreaking new renal biomarker 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 arrives on the market after several years of research and clinical studies, culminating in 27 peer-reviewed articles to date and following an extensive pilot launch involving over 600 veterinary practices in which more than 50,000 SDMA tests were successfully run and used to diagnose potential kidney disease.
“SDMA is the best thing that’s happened in kidney disease management in decades,” said Travis Pond, DVM, of American Pet Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. “The ability to detect kidney disease early in the disease process is a real game changer for my patients and their families. This kind of innovation is really helping to raise the standard of care.”
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a leading cause of suffering and death in cats and dogs. It has been generally accepted that 1 in 3 cats1 and 1 in 10 dogs2 will develop some form of kidney disease over their lifetime; however, recent studies suggest that CKD is even more common. These studies indicate that CKD affects 40% of cats less than 15 years of age and up to 80% of cats over 15 years of age. These results indicate that CKD has been under-recognized previously.3,4
Until today, kidney disease has been routinely diagnosed in part by measuring blood creatinine. However, creatinine cannot detect kidney disease until late in the disease process, limiting the opportunity to extend the life of the pet through treatment options. Traditionally, a diagnosis is made when 75% of kidney function has been irreversibly lost. At this point, the prognosis can be poor.
The SDMA test changes that. In recent clinical studies at Texas A&M University and Oregon State University, research revealed that SDMA identified disease much earlier in disease progression, when the kidney had suffered far less damage. The Oregon State University study demonstrated SDMA detected CKD up to 4 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.
Additional research identified SDMA as a better indicator of renal function in animals that have lost muscle mass because of age or disease. SDMA is not impacted by body mass, whereas creatinine levels are. Earlier detection allows veterinarians to recommend potentially effective intervention that could add months or even years to pet lives.
“SDMA appears to be a major step forward in our diagnostic approach to chronic kidney disease,” said Greg Grauer, DVM, MS, DACVIM, professor and Jarvis chair of small animal internal medicine, Kansas State University. “The potential role of SDMA in diagnosing chronic kidney disease, especially early chronic kidney disease, is a promising new direction in veterinary nephrology.”
Since April 2015, over 600 veterinary practices have received SDMA results from IDEXX Reference Laboratories when they submitted routine chemistry panels as part of a pilot launch. To date, more than 50,000 tests have been run on patients in practice. Participating veterinarians and the pets in their care have already begun to benefit from the opportunity SDMA offers for early diagnosis of CKD.
“SDMA is a result of our industry-leading investment in advancing veterinary medicine and represents a significant achievement in preventive care diagnostics,” said Jonathan W. Ayers, president and chief executive officer of IDEXX Laboratories. “Customers participating in our pilot launch have told us that SDMA has already transformed the way kidney disease is diagnosed and treated, and will help their patients live longer, happier lives.”
The SDMA test will roll out in the Canadian market as part of the routine chemistry panel later this summer. A roll-out in our global reference laboratory network will extend into 2016.