Friday, October 11, 2013

Testing for Food Intolerance

Meet Grizzly, a 3-year-old mixed breed dog with a serious skin irritation issue. Last month, we talked about food intolerance vs food allergies and mentioned the HemoPet NutriScan test by Dr. Jean Dodds. We decided for our blog readers to test out Dr. Dodds’ theory.  

Grizzly was adopted from the Middletown Humane Society at roughly 4 months old. He was a healthy dog, but started developing skin conditions at about a year old. He was tested for a variety of different things, from Mange to allergies, but his skin issues, which included itching, hair loss, hotspots and open wounds, didn’t seem to improve. Grizzly was weaned off kibble and put onto a home cooked diet of chicken, vegetables and eggs. The change in his diet did start to improve his skin, however it didn’t solve everything.

Since the test for environmental allergies was negative, it was decided that Grizzly should undergo food intolerance testing. The NutriScan test by Hemopet is simple; it’s non-invasive and only requires the dog’s saliva.  The test comes with a saliva collection kit and easy to follow instructions. Once you collect your sample, you simply mail it to the testing facility and wait for the results.

Grizzly’s results came about a week after the sample was mailed out. His results came back somewhat neutral, showing he didn’t have a major intolerance to any of the foods, but he was borderline reactive for some of them including, chicken, venison, white fish and barley, and was directed to avoid these ingredients. There were three items that he was absolutely not intolerant to: lamb and rabbit as the protein sources and sweet potato.  Since Grizzly’s primary protein was chicken at the time of testing, he was switched to a lamb based diet instead.  

Since the switch, which was about a week and a half ago, Grizzly has begun to show improvement. The scratching is still present, but it has lessened. He is now eating a limited ingredient diet with lamb as the main protein. It is important to remember that it takes time for a dog to get adjusted when you switch their food, so try to keep their diet consistent.

This test is ideal for dogs who have skin issues or problems with digesting foods. Since the test is non–invasive, it is an alternative to traditional allergy testing and may provide the answers to diet based food intolerance.

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