A new test uses artificial intelligence to predict kidney disease in cats two years before it occurs.
You could think of it as a high-tech crystal ball. RenalTech, a test from Antech Diagnostics, uses artificial intelligence to predict the likelihood of kidney disease in cats two years before it occurs.
Vets can use the test results to develop a personalized care plan that could keep the cat from going into kidney failure.
Studies show that one in three cats will develop kidney disease in their lifetimes. What makes it so dangerous is that it can be difficult to diagnose before it’s done significant damage to the kidneys.
Signs Of Kidney Disease In Cats
While you can’t reverse the damage that’s already been done if your cat is in kidney failure, you can slow the progression of the disease if you catch it early enough. Some signs to watch for are weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, and drinking and urinating more frequently than usual. These can be signs of other health issues, too, and are always worth a visit to the vet.
Caring For A Cat With Kidney Disease
Most vets recommend a low-phosphorous diet and subcutaneous fluids for cats with kidney disease. While your vet will probably suggest prescription food, there are alternatives that are less expensive and more appealing to cats.
Medications to discuss with your vet are Pepcid AC (not Pepcid Complete or the extra strength 20mg tablet) to relieve stomach acid, an appetite stimulant and something for nausea. Vitamin B can help with anemia, and a probiotic can help your cat absorb her food. A phosphorus binder is something else to consider.
For all you need to know about cats and kidney disease, take a look at Tanya’s CRF website. And if you need to give your cat fluids, this video will show you how.
How The New Test Works
RenalTech uses the cat’s age combined with the results of the common blood and urine tests done at well-cat checkups to predict the likelihood of the cat developing kidney disease within the next two years. It needs two sets of results, one from the current visit and another from any time during the previous 24 months. Antech says the test can predict the possibility of kidney failure with 95 per cent accuracy.
While knowing ahead of time that your cat is likely to develop kidney disease might not prevent it, there are things you can do to slow it down. Writing for the American Animal Hospital Association, veterinarian Jennifer Ogeer suggests maintaining the best possible dental health, avoiding nephrotoxic drugs, feeding high quality food with moderate phosphorus (an all-wet-food diet is best), make sure your cat always has access to fresh water and consider adding a fatty acid supplement, like fish oil.
Antech Diagnostics is owned by Mars Petcare.