Balanced nutrition is now recognized as the key factor in providing for health and longevity of human and animal populations. Achieving this balance depends upon each individual’s genetic and geographical needs and lifestyle. However, nutritional imbalance and food intolerances are seen more than ever today, with the rising number of environmental challenges,
The following three case examples illustrate how diagnosing food intolerances with Nutriscan and then removing any reactive foods from a pet’s diet has a successful outcome:
Brandy 5 years old, entire female, 40 pounds, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- Very itchy puppy scratching, skin rashes and loss of patches of hair
- Hypoallergenic shampoos and wearing a T-shirt didn’t help much
- Reactive foods identified with Nutriscan and removed
- 2 weeks later scratching abated
- More reactive foods arose, especially soy
- Strict dietary control has kept her healthy as an adult
Healthy and happy after reactive foods were removed from her diet
Rosie 6 years old, spayed female, 35 pounds, Border Collie mix
- Intense itching on limbs and feet, dry cracked foot pads, constant rubbing of face, muzzle and around eyes
- 10 Nutriscan reactive foods removed from diet
- 3-5 weeks later, itching and rubbing subsiding; face and limb redness fading and healing; foot pads softened
- 2 months later, almost healed and happy
- Inhalant and contact allergens addressed as well
Red and itchy face before Nutriscan testing
Face almost completely healed after removing foods identified by Nutriscan as reactive
Jojan 19 years old, spayed female, Silver Domestic Shorthaired Cat
- Experienced intermittent weight loss and poor appetite
- Thyroid profile was normal
- Food reactivities on Nutriscan were Cow’s Milk, Corn, and White-Colored Fish
- All sources of these foods in diet and supplements (including cornstarch) were removed
- Gave only homemade diet of grass-fed meats plus some vegetables and blueberries
- Mood and appetite improved and has remained good
Sleek haircoat, calm, and good weight after Nutriscan adjustment of diet
The debate about the most accurate and predictive clinical and laboratory diagnosis of food adverse reactions in companion animals has been ongoing for two decades. Should we rely upon the patient’s clinical response and outcome, patch testing, extended food elimination trials, the presence of allergen-specific serum antibodies, direct bowel surface food-sensitivity testing and fecal immunoglobulin levels, or the novel validated saliva-based Nutriscan test described here?
Food patch testing was recently reported to be reliable as a tool to identify suitable ingredients for an elimination diet due to its high negative predictability. However, patch testing also is time-consuming, expensive and because of its low positive predictive value cannot identify offending allergens. Most pet owners would prefer faster and easier performed diagnostic tools.
Intradermal tests with food components or tests for food-specific serum immunity have so far failed to reliably identify dogs with adverse food reactions and thus cannot be recommended for this diagnosis in clinical practice. Measuring serum antibody levels to specific food ingredients does not correlate well with clinical patient outcomes or dietary re-challenge studies.
Many commercial pet foods contain meat and flavorings not listed or specified on the label. Current studies have examined the presence of these undeclared ingredients which:
- critically assessed published discrepancies between ingredients and labeling in commercial pet foods, including those with “novel” or “limited” ingredients and containing micronized hydrolysates
- found that the median mislabeling was 45 % of tested diets with a range of 33-83% for the “novel/limited” ingredients ones that are used for food elimination trials, and one hydrolyzed diet
The authors concluded that before ruling out a food component as an allergen, a novel protein home-made diet trial should be performed, if the dog is unresponsive to a commercial regimen.
The data summarized above are further confounded by the fact that many pets also receive a variety of supplements, preventive pharmaceuticals such as those for heartworm, flea and tick exposures, as well as puppy and periodic booster vaccines. These products usually contain meat, especially beef, pork and chicken, as well as other flavorings and several types of fish oils, and nearly all vaccines contain fetal calf serum.
The problem is more complicated when veterinary therapeutic and supplement items and over-the-counter products may not accurately list the ingredients or their antigen sources on the label or product insert. When recommending food elimination trials, only non-flavored oral or topical therapies, pill pockets, and supplements should be used. Additionally, gelatin capsules may contain either beef or pork proteins and should not be administered during a trial.
In summary, Hemopet’s patented test for food-specific antibodies in saliva is available worldwide for dogs, cats and horses. The test is easy to perform and noninvasive, and thus is very acceptable to pet owners. The cases described above attest to its reliability and efficacy.
For more information on Nutriscan, please visit the official website at http://bit.ly/2SPZHsl
Dodds WJ. Diagnosis of canine food sensitivity and intolerance using saliva: report of outcomes. J Am Hol Vet Med Assoc 2017/2018; 49:32-43.
Dodds WJ. Challenges in food quality, safety and intolerances. Timely Top Clin Immunol 2018; 2 (2):16-20.
Olivry T, Mueller RS. Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (5): discrepancies between ingredients and labeling in commercial pet foods. BMC Vet Res 2018: 14:24-28.