IRIS Establishes Napa Meeting to Advance Leading-Edge Directions in Nephrology

DAVIS, Calif., July 30, 2015 /CNW/ -- The International Renal Interest Society (IRIS), a veterinary society established to advance the scientific understanding of kidney disease in small animals, announced today the creation of the IRIS Napa Meeting. This reoccurring meeting is a new strategic planning initiative to be held in the Napa Valley, California, as emerging critical issues in veterinary nephrology arise. This groundbreaking think-tank style summit will host globally renowned authorities in nephrology and provide problem recognition and innovative solutions to topical and complex issues affecting kidney health in dogs and cats. The inaugural meeting, held in May 2015, focused on recognition of early (subclinical) kidney disease and its role in progressive kidney injury.  Financial and logistical support for the inaugural Napa Meeting was graciously provided by IDEXX, Westbrook, Maine.

"Formation of the IRIS Napa Meeting provides an important leadership role for IRIS and groundbreaking opportunities for the nephrology community," said Dr. Larry Cowgill, IRIS Napa Meeting co-chair. 

The evolving opportunities of novel renal biomarkers that permit earlier recognition of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and acute kidney injury (AKI) as well as their potentially interrelated pathogenesis were the hallmark of the May meeting. Based on preliminary evidence with a spectrum of novel kidney biomarkers, an hypothesis emerged that progression of CKD may, in part, be perpetuated by "active" and ongoing kidney injury that remains undetected until structural losses of nephron mass is reflected in traditional "static" diagnostic markers of kidney function. If validated with future studies, this hypothesis could have a defining influence on the future diagnosis and management of early kidney disease.

"Napa Meetings are intended to facilitate focused discussions that will lead to solutions to fundamental issues in veterinary nephrology in a timely manner, thereby enabling veterinarians to stay at the forefront of new medical breakthroughs," said Dr. David Polzin, IRIS Napa Meeting co-chair.  

The complementary role of symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA), a forthcoming kidney biomarker for the early detection of CKD, to conventional diagnostics for kidney disease and its role in the IRIS CKD Staging scheme were among the impactful issues discussed. Subsequent to recommendations from the Napa Panel and following further consideration at the 2015 IRIS Board Meeting, the following interpretive comments for the diagnostic and therapeutic utilization of SDMA were incorporated into the 2015 IRIS CKD Staging Guidelines and are expected to be available as soon as possible on the reconstructed IRIS website,

"Serum or plasma SDMA may be a more sensitive biomarker of renal function compared with creatinine. A persistent elevation in SDMA above 14 µg/dl would indicate reduced renal function and be a reason to categorize a dog or cat (with creatinine values <1.4 or <1.6 mg/dl, respectively) as IRIS CKD Stage 1."

"In IRIS CKD Stage 2 patients with low body condition scores, if SDMA is 25 µg/dl, this may indicate the extent of renal dysfunction has been underestimated. Consider treatment recommendations listed under IRIS CKD Stage 3 for this patient."

"In IRIS CKD Stage 3 patients with low body condition scores, if SDMA is 45 µg/dl, this may indicate the degree of renal dysfunction has been underestimated. Consider treatment recommendations listed under IRIS CKD Stage 4 for this patient."

These additions to the guidelines are preliminary, based on early data derived from the use of SDMA in veterinary patients.  The IRIS Board fully expects them to be updated as the veterinary profession gains further experience using SDMA alongside the long-established marker, creatinine, in the diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of canine and feline CKD.

Organizations or commercial entities with an interest in veterinary nephrology are invited to consider supporting future IRIS Napa Meetings with the goal of exploring new horizons and strategies in nephrology creatively designed for the next 10 years and beyond.  For more information about IRIS, visit Those interested in sponsoring a future IRIS Napa meeting should contact Dr. Larry Cowgill at or Dr. David Polzin at


IRIS is the International Renal Interest Society and was organized originally at the 8th Annual Congress of the European Society of Veterinary Internal Medicine in Vienna, Austria, in 1998, with the support of Novartis Animal Health, which provided operational funding and organizational assistance until December 2014.  Current support for the educational and scientific missions of IRIS is provided by Elanco Animal Health, Greenfield, IN.

IRIS is composed of a board of 15 independent veterinarians with particular expertise in veterinary nephrology, from 10 different countries. The mission of IRIS is to help veterinary practitioners better diagnose, understand, and treat kidney disease in cats and dogs. In order to achieve this mission, the group investigates ways to more accurately diagnose early signs of acute and chronic kidney disease and provides consensus recommendations and explores novel therapies for their management.

One of the organization's primary objectives is to establish internationally recognized guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases in dogs and cats.  IRIS has been a recognized leader for a variety of topics in the area of nephrology and a source of direction veterinarians look to for the diagnosis and management of kidney disease in animal patients.  IRIS is proud to add the Napa Meeting to its portfolio of accomplishments for the advancement of the science and understanding of kidney disease in animals.


Dr. Astrid van Dongen
President, IRIS

Dr. Larry Cowgill
Co-Chair 2015 IRIS Napa Meeting

Dr. David Polzin
Co-Chair 2015 IRIS Napa Meeting

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