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Value of SDMA in detection of kidney disease in dogs

Last changed: 14 May 2019

Early detection of decreased glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in dogs is challenging. Current methods are insensitive and new biomarkers are required. To compare overall diagnostic performance of serum symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) and serum cystatin C to serum creatinine, for detection of decreased GFR in clinically stable dogs, with or without chronic kidney disease (CKD).


Ninety‐seven client‐owned dogs: 67 dogs with a diagnosis or suspicion of CKD and 30 healthy dogs were prospectively included.


Prospective diagnostic accuracy study. All dogs underwent physical examination, systemic arterial blood pressure measurement, urinalysis, hematology and blood biochemistry analysis, cardiac and urinary ultrasound examinations, and scintigraphy for estimation of glomerular filtration rate (mGFR). Frozen serum was used for batch analysis of SDMA and cystatin C.


The area under the curve of creatinine, SDMA, and cystatin C for detection of an mGFR <30.8 mL/min/L was 0.98 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93‐1.0), 0.96 (95% CI, 0.91‐0.99), and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.79‐0.93), respectively. The sensitivity of both creatinine and SDMA at their prespecified cutoffs (115 μmol/L [1.3 mg/dL] and 14 μg/dL) for detection of an abnormal mGFR was 90%. The specificity was 90% for creatinine and 87% for SDMA. When adjusting the cutoff for cystatin C to correspond to a diagnostic sensitivity of 90% (0.49 mg/L), specificity was lower (72%) than that of creatinine and SDMA.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

Overall diagnostic performance of creatinine and SDMA for detection of decreased mGFR was similar. Overall diagnostic performance of cystatin C was inferior to both creatinine and SDMA.

Link to the publication


Pelander L, Häggström J, Larsson A, Syme H, Elliott J, Heiene R, Ljungvall I. Comparison of the diagnostic value of symmetric dimethylarginine, cystatin C, and creatinine for detection of decreased glomerular filtration rate in dogs. J Vet Intern Med (2019), 33(2):630-639.


Lena Pelander
Lecturer at the Department of Clinical Sciences

Telephone: 018-671498