Symmetric Dimethylarginine (SDMA) is a biomarker that can be used in interpretation with the creatinine, BUN, and urinalysis to help diagnose renal insufficiency in pets earlier on in the disease process.
SDMA is a methylated form of arginine (an amino acid) that is released into the circulation as the protein is broken down and is excreted almost exclusively by the kidneys. It is a biomarker for kidney function and therefore is a good estimate of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). This biomarker increases with the loss of 40% of renal function (as compared to creatinine which does not increase until 75% of the renal function is lost). SDMA is not affected by factors other than kidney function and is therefore very SPECIFIC.
Because of the specificity of the test, if an animal has an elevated SDMA and the other values are within normal limits, it means that the animal is having early kidney dysfunction. The idea is that if we can somehow realize that the kidneys are losing function before the animal is clinical, we can intervene early on and can begin supportive therapies to help the kidneys and potentially slow down the progression of disease (such as measuring blood pressure, monitoring kidney values, modifying diet if needed, or using renal protective supplements).
This new biomarker may be helpful in those cases where we are not quite sure if the patient is truly having underlying renal disease (dilute urine with normal renal parameters, weight loss cases, PU/PD symptoms, or even no symptoms but a dilute urine and negative culture for example).
Idexx is offering a free Continuing Education webinar about using SDMA in practice! Visit the IDEXX Learning Center to register. The webinar will be held in the Learning Center online at 3pm Eastern on January 7th for 1 Continuing Education Credit.
Please take a moment to educate yourself about this important new diagnostic tool!
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