Kidney disease is not only a problem for people. Chronic kidney disease is a serious health problem for dogs and the second leading cause of non-accidental death in cats (after cancer). By the time you notice symptoms – increased thirst and urination, reduced appetite, weight loss, or a lacklustre mood – up to 75% of your pet’s kidney function could already be lost.
Kidney damage is irreversible. However, if caught early enough, you can help slow it down and even extend the pet’s life. Now, thanks to the revolutionary IDEXX SDMA test, kidney disease can be detected months, even years, earlier than was previously possible. It can identify problems up to 4 years earlier in cats and 2 years earlier in dogs.
“Kidney disease is a slow and silent killer, wearing down the kidneys just like the tread on your tyres, reducing their ability to do their job properly,” explains Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinary advisor for Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa. “Even though the kidneys can’t be repaired, earlier detection means pets can be better managed so that they enjoy longer and better quality lives.”
The most effective management, and indeed the only one clinically proven to extend life and improve well-being, is a food – Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d – a therapeutic kidney food, with controlled levels of protein, phosphorous and salt, ingredients found in high levels in many pet foods and associated with accelerating kidney damage.
“Early detection makes a huge difference. Yearly senior pet screenings - for pets older than seven - is probably the single most important thing you can do to keep your pet well,” says Dr Fyvie. Chronic kidney disease progresses with age and the change of developing kidney problems increases after the age of 7.
“If your pet is showing any symptoms, or just getting a little grey around the whiskers, it is worth having their kidneys checked – even if just for peace of mind.”
Kidney disease is just one of the conditions that can affect a pet as it gets older. Learn more about the importance of senior check-ups and early detection of disease at www.SeniorPets.co.za