Important Tests for Patients Presenting With Kidney Injuries

September 8, 2018

When treating an animal with kidney injuries, it’s important to record a baseline of the patient’s kidney parameters. This includes creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and electrolyte tests and biomarkers.

Karol Mathews, DVM, DVSc, DACVECC, professor emeritus of clinical studies at Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph says that when treating an animal with kidney injuries, it’s important to record a baseline of the patient’s kidney parameters. This includes creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and electrolyte tests and biomarkers.

“Always get a baseline of kidney parameters. So you're going to get your creatinine, you could maybe get your BUN— because that's something you can do you know quite frequently—but that is so, it's interfered by so many things that it's not really a good accurate measurement, but it might be something that's simple inexpensive that you could take a look at. The SDMA you can use to see how that's going, that's more sensitive with the kidney then the other tests, although it can be a signal for malignancy that may be in the kidney as well. So if there is a malignancy associated with the kidney the SDMA will be up as well, potentially, so you need to take a look for that if the history fits that that may be, you know, a problem.

Electrolytes are very important because the kidney is responsible for absorbing and getting rid of electrolytes, and if you've got a patient that's got a high potassium that could cause serious problems and if they've got you know high calcium or chloride, things like that, so electrolytes important to measure. And either if they are too low then you need to supplement and if they're too high you need to change your fluid therapy so that you can, you know, correct that or correct their acid-base status things like that. So you have to take care of the patient as well as the kidney, OK, because the kidney has got some pretty important functions.”