October 1, 2019

Press release: Antech Diagnostics

Antech Diagnostics, part of Mars Petcare, on October 1 released a new diagnostic tool that was developed using artificial intelligence to analyze pet medical record data to predict whether a cat will develop chronic kidney disease (CKD) up to two years before traditional clinical diagnosis.

The RenalTech tool was developed by Mars Petcare scientists and is delivered to veterinarians through Antech’s reference laboratory network. The tool can identify whether a cat will develop CKD, enabling a new way for veterinarians to partner with cat owners on proactive health care plans tailored specifically to their pet’s unique medical needs. Now available free of charge to veterinarians that use Antech’s reference laboratories in the U.S., this tool is the first of many predictive diagnostics in the pipeline from Mars Petcare.

“This is a paradigm shifting moment for veterinary medicine,” said Jonathan Elliott, MA, Vet MB, PhD, Cert SAC, Dip ECVPT, MRCVS and vice principal for research and innovation at the University of London Royal Veterinary College and partner in the development of the tool. “The ability to use artificial intelligence on data collected in practice as part of routine health screens to address chronic kidney disease well before the disease becomes clinically apparent gives us an opportunity to leverage best practice medicine for cats not previously available to veterinarians. It’s also exciting that we were able to move so quickly from publication in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine to making the tool available in practice.”

CKD is the No. 1 cause of death for cats over five and affects 30-40 percent of all cats over the age of 10. It’s a highly complex disease that historically has been difficult to diagnose; current detection methods find disease only once significant kidney damage has occurred, making intervention and treatment challenging. Developed by leveraging the anonymized medical data of more than 150,000 cats and 750,000 Banfield Pet Hospital patient visits over 20 years, the RenalTech tool can predict CKD with greater than 95 percent accuracy.

“Behind the numbers are real pets, pet owners and veterinarians,” said Poul Weihrauch, president of Mars Petcare. “Mars Petcare is committed to its purpose: a better world for pets, leveraging data, science and technology. We envision a world where predictive diagnostics in pet health care are the norm, enabling CKD and other diseases to be managed proactively. The RenalTech tool reflects the combined expertise and assets of Mars Petcare, The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and Antech Diagnostics, enabling a shift in veterinary care from disease detection to disease prediction.”

“Predicting Early Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats Using Routine Clinical Laboratory Tests and Machine Learning,” recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, found that the four-measure model alone is also able to predict CKD two years before clinical diagnosis. The RenalTech tool uses six common feline health measurements—creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, white blood cell count, urine specific gravity, urine protein, urine pH–along with approximate age—to deliver a RenalTech Status. Based on this status, veterinarians can say with certainty if a cat has or will develop CKD within the next two years.

“The ability to predict disease is a game changer for veterinarians,” said David Aucoin, DVM, DACVCP, chief technology officer at Antech Diagnostics. “Now, veterinarians can act early, before disease strikes, allowing them to create a highly personalized care plan enabling pet owners to take the necessary steps to minimize the effects of chronic kidney disease. We believe this will dramatically improve a veterinarian’s ability to keep pets with their people for as long as possible, which is truly why we all come to work every day.”

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