Food Intolerance / Insensitivity

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Feeding the best food and ingredients is great unless your dog or cat has an intolerance or sensitivity to them. Dogs and cats can experience an adverse food reaction (AFR), allergic reactions, or food intolerance/sensitivity the same as people.  But food intolerance or sensitivity is more common than a food allergy. Food intolerances/sensitivities can manifest in (GI) gastrointestinal issues, chronic itching, gas rumblings, chronic gas, chronic burping, chronic skin, ear and foot infections, especially with the presence of yeast. [7] Excessive licking of surfaces can also be a sign of digestive disorders.[8]

Food allergies reflect a more immediate immunological response whereas food intolerances/sensitivities build up over time with exposure to offending ingredient(s). “the body produces the antibody IgE to fight off a food allergy and reacts immediately and violently (anaphylaxis). However, these types of true food allergies are rare. Typically, testing for food allergies involves either a skin prick test or a blood test.” Allergy reactions show up in allergy blood test as antibodies (IgE and IgG).

Testing a dog’s saliva for a differing set of antibodies (IgA and IgM) is recommended for testing for the food sensitivity & intolerance. With the NutriScan kit you collect saliva with a small cotton dental rope. You can do this at home or at the vet’s office. Then ship the kit back to Hemopet for testing.

I have found that a small amount of an offending ingredient causes issues. Reactions can be caused by the differing proteins, or oats, millet, quinoa, lentils, barley, salmon oil, herring oil, etc. NutriScan can eliminate the guesswork without putting dogs through weeks/months of food trails and continually going to the vet to manage symptoms. (See food trials below)

Rotating foods every two to three months can do more then add to our dog's enjoyment of his food, it may help to avoid the development of particular food sensitivity and food allergies. The greater the length of time and frequency a particular food is consumed the greater likelihood an intolerance/sensitivity can develop over time. 

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I have used and recommend food sensitivity & intolerance test from NutriScan. I ran two NutriScan tests on my Dalmatian and one test on my shepherd mix. My Dalmatian had reactions to almost everything which required me to change and limit her diet. I ran the second test on my Dalmatian about 10-months after the first test and the numbers were dropping (although far from good) on the foods I had eliminated from her diet. It was very helpful after getting results and eliminating foods from both of my dogs diet. Less gas, less bouts of diarrhea, and overall saw an improvement in well-being. My two dogs always loved to eat grass and we would say that they just liked their salad and that it was normal. But after running a NutriScan food intolerance test on each of them and eliminating several foods from their diet their grass eating reduced about 95%. (after eating grass they were not throwing up).

“Irritable bowel syndrome is a disease of dogs characterized by chronic recurrent abdominal pain and large bowel diarrhea (Guilford, 1996a). Feeding changes will often alleviate the signs of irritable bowel disease, implying that food sensitivity plays a role in this syndrome. … In affected dogs, the adverse reactions to these nutrients are most likely due to food intolerance rather than a food allergy.” [6]

Generally speaking I look at nutrition as a three leg stool. Ingredients, quality, and balance. Any one of these missing or short throws the whole diet out of balance. For me it is essential to identify and eliminate any food from the diet that can create intolerance. And NutriScan helped eliminate the guesswork with weeks of food trails.

Food Trials

“The elimination diet trial should be performed for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks and ideally 10 to 12 weeks…  Although maximum improvement may take up to 10 to 13 weeks,” [5]

“It is noteworthy that dietary trials confirm or rule out adverse reactions to food but do not indicate the underlying mechanism (allergy or intolerance).” [6] 

For information on Allergies.