Study shows kidney damage found in 25 percent of apparently healthy dogs

Apr 01, 2003
By staff

Fort Collins, Colo.-A recent study of more than 3,000 veterinary staff-owned dogs from more than 350 veterinary clinics across the United States found evidence of early kidney damage in approximately one out of every four dogs.

The study's sponsor, Heska Corp., says, it is the largest study ever conducted on the prevalence of microalbuminuria (small amounts of albumin in the urine) in dogs, and the results indicate that early kidney damage may be more widespread than previously thought.

In this study, 751 of 3,041 (24.7 percent) dogs tested positive for microalbuminuria and a statistically significant

(P < 0.0001) correlation between increasing age and positive test results was observed.

The study found the prevalence of microalbuminuria to be 8.2 percent in dogs that were 5 years of age or younger. However, the prevalence increased dramatically to 20 percent in dogs 6 to 8 years of age, to 36 percent in dogs 9 to 11 years of age and to 49 percent in dogs at least 12 years of age.

These results indicate that annual screening for microalbuminuria is a valuable addition to regular health exams in dogs 6 years of age and older, Heska says. Annual testing and the treatment of the underlying causes of microalbuminuria may mitigate the long-term impact of kidney damage.

The study was conducted using Heska Corp.'s Canine E.R.D.-Screen Urine Test, an in-clinic test developed to detect microalbuminuria in dogs.

"Kidney disease, a leading cause of death in dogs, is often called a "silent killer" because by the time the pet begins to show clinical signs, 70 ­ 80 percent of the kidney function has already been lost," says Dr. Wayne Jensen, senior director of research and development at Heska. "Early detection of glomerular damage, when underlying causes can be identified and treated or managed, is critical to preventing progression to end-stage renal disease."