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Interesting new test for FOOD ALLERGIES using saliva
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Just got this information from Dr. Jean Dodds' Hemopet foundation:
    Dr. Dodds will be introducing Nutriscan, a novel, patented food intolerance and canine food sensitivity testing system. This assay system utilizes an important new approach in nutrition - that salivary diagnostics can more accurately identify the foods to be avoided rather than focus on those less like to be reactive.

    Dr. Dodds' revolutionary concept is the first food intolerance and sensitivity testing program to match pets with their individual nutritional needs and genetic makeup, i.e. functional nutrition or nutrigenomics. This provides owners with accurate information to select the optimal pet foods and treats based on high level nutritional principles.

    Dr. Jean Dodds' new Nutriscan saliva screening diagnostics should be used annually by dog owners. This canine food sensitivity and intolerance diagnostic system tests saliva for food reactant antibodies in healthy dogs and those with known or suspected food intolerance. Dog owners can obtain the test kit from Hemopet or through their veterinarians. After following directions, adding saliva, the kit is sealed and sent to Hemopet for analysis. The Nutriscan canine food sensitivity testing and diagnostic kit is now available.

    Testing protocols are for gluten and other food ingredient intolerance and sensitivity. The primary dietary antigens to be tested are corn, wheat, soy, beef, eggs, and milk.

    Current introductory price is $55. I may try this, though I have read that current tests for food allergies are all notoriously fickle and prone to false positives...

    I would also like to see her test for other proteins than beef.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
    Post edited by sunyata at 2012-08-09 09:29:36
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Oh, I would totally do this! But I would be most interested in protein tests, of course! This is really exciting though, esp. as I was thinking of doing some testing through Hemo anyway....
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    This is cool! I'm gonna wait to see if the price drops first before trying it. I don't know if Conker's "allergies" are actually that or not, but so far anytime he gets whatever those items are he itches like bonkers and has other bad reactions to it. It would be nice to know for sure if he really was allergic to some of that stuff without having to spend tons of money.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    It *is* exciting... almost too exciting to be true! I'm a little skeptical, but it would be wonderful news if this really does work.

    Here's some more information from the e-mail announcement:

    > Nutriscan is now available. Our revolutionary patented, canine
    > food sensitivity and intolerance diagnostic test uses an important
    > new approach to nutrition. Salivary diagnostics can more accurately
    > identify the foods to be avoided than can serum food ?allergy?
    > testing.
    > This salivary diagnostic system tests saliva for emerging food
    > reactant antibodies in healthy dogs, as well as the existing
    > antibodies in dogs with known or suspected food intolerance.
    > The test kit can be obtained directly from Hemopet or your
    > veterinarian can order the kit for you. It is really a very simple
    > procedure. After following directions for collecting the saliva,
    > and adding it to the special double-sleeved tube that we provide,
    > the tube is sealed and sent to Hemopet for analysis.
    > Testing protocols are for gluten and other food ingredients. The
    > primary dietary antigens to be tested are: corn, wheat, soy, beef,
    > eggs, and milk. This food sensitivity diagnostic testing will
    > identify pets needing appropriate personalized foods and treats.
    > Nutiscan saliva screening should be used annually or more often, as
    > warranted.


    So I'm a little unclear about some terms, like "food reactant antibodies," and the difference between a true protein "allergy" versus an intolerance (I believe that's been discussed on this board before, though). I'm also unclear as to why this test should be done annually... Because a dog's food sensitivities can change over time? I know that Bowdu *appears* to have become more intolerant of beef over the years, but I don't expect this to change so that he will eventually become tolerant of beef. That is, I didn't know food sensitivities could go both ways (increasing and decreasing tolerance).

    I think I've said elsewhere that I'm supportive of Hemopet's work, as unorthodox and sometimes controversial as they may be to the veterinary establishment. But this does seem to be work that's still "in development," as it were, so I'm not expecting miracles. If anything, I think the tests submitted at this early stage will do more to contribute to emerging research, rather than provide definitive answers.

    Maybe I'll give them a call and ask about some of this...
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    If you call, let us know what you find out. I'd be interested in this if it were useful for proteins (and would show intolerances too) but otherwise, it's not that useful for me.
  • has anyone tried this yet?
  • @sandrat888 has, I believe (paging, paging...). Maybe she can report on her thoughts.

    Also, the introductory period is over and the test has now doubled in price.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • Just thought I'd bump this. I haven't tried it, but it looks like a good resource. While the full test is pricey ($250), you can get test one which covers common kibble ingredients for $130. To me, that's an affordable price. It's better than 12 weeks of an elimination diet, or just going crazy trying food after food for your dog. Of course, if nothing comes up with that, then you'd need to go to test 2, but I think it's an interesting option.

    here's the link to the form for the test, which shows what it tests for:

    Has anyone done it yet?
  • kumaDUDEkumaDUDE
    Posts: 1259
    Sounds amazing!
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    If the test is as accurate as it is marketed to sound, then..
    Post edited by tatonka at 2012-10-22 07:43:29
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • I know! I'd really like to know someone that has done it. I was kind of hoping someone I know with a really super allergic white terrier mix would do it--her poor boy is allergic to everything it seems, and he gets hives and has serious GI problems from even a whisper of something he's allergic to, but she said her vet wasn't sure it was accurate enough.....

    But I can't find any reviews, so how will we know?

    I did the blood test years ago on my GSD. It's not terribly accurate either, but it did give me some useful information nontheless.
  • Sorry for the double post, but got so more info. on this exam. My friend with the super allergic terrier decided to ask more questions. Initially, we were both confused by the fact that test says it tests for intolerances rather than allergies. I thought that intolerance was just the way most doctors/vets talk about what we call allergies (which are really intolerances, as true allergies are much more rare), but my friend thought intolerances were more something that would show up inside (GI tract issues) vs. allergies in skin.

    We looked at this description of the tests, which didn't clarify much, but may be helpful to people here who remember their pathology better (in my case, my pathology class only discussed antigens in terms of blood typing, so I feel I have an excuse for not getting it!)

    Link to information about what test checks for:

    After this, we still weren't sure so my friend emailed hemopet, and is usual with them, got an answer from Dr. Dodds in just a few hours. here is some information from that, with my friend's questions about what the test would check for. Her questions are first, with Dr. Dodd's answers second. For me, this clarifies how the test works, and I think I'd go for it if I needed it. My friend will probably try it in the next month or so, and when I hear her results, I'll let you all know!

    "My understanding is that your test is for food *intolerances* rather than *allergies.* Correct.

    I was also under the impression that since he had both skin and digestive symptoms, this was a case of allergies.

    Not at all; true food allergies are rare and reflect antibodies in the blood serum to IgE and IgG. Much more common are food intolerances and sensitivities, which are demonstrated in saliva (or feces) with antibodies against IgA and IgM.

  • ShibaLoveShibaLove
    Posts: 554
    Ok I am no food allergy vs intolerance expert here but I am studying Immunology and know a bit about antigens, immunoglobulins (Ig) and their distribution in the body, and allergic responses (hypersensitivities).

    First, antigens are just a name for what an antibody is recognizing or binding to. In this sense all of the proteins in your body can be or have been an antigen. In addition, each protein in your body can contain multiple antigens because the antibody can recognize multiple pieces of a protein. If the protein was a 10 bead string and the antibody can bind one bead at a time, there could be up to 10 antigens. This gets more complicated though because an antibody can recognize multiple "beads" so antigens can overlap.

    Second, a true food allergy is mediated by the immune system and is usually a type I hypersensitivity reaction. This involves being pre-sensitized to the antigen and elicits an IgE response. A food intolerance does not involve the immune system, but is the digestive tract responding to something it cannot tolerate. The most common example is lactose intolerance where the patient lacks an enzyme required to break down lactose.

    That being said, the patient that was lactose intolerant should not have antibodies against lactose because the immune system is not involved in intolerances. So, in my opinion, this test could not test for any food intolerance by testing antibody levels. Additionally, he got the distribution of antibodies wrong in his response to you. IgE is found just below the surface of the skin and is almost undetectable in serum. This is a bit of a knit picky thing for me to say because there is IgE in the serum but it is not detectable because it is loaded onto high affinity receptors on mast cells (these are the nasty histamine producers). IgG and IgA are the highest classes detected in the serum. IgM also is mostly found in the serum and to a lesser extent in the lymph, but is not in saliva. IgA and IgG are predominantly found in the saliva.

    Food Intolerance = No Ig
    Food Allergy = Mainly IgE (skin, ~blood), IgG (blood, saliva, and tissue), IgA (saliva, blood), IgM (blood only)

    From what I have read, for now, food intolerances can only be determined by trial and error. Sorry if this was TMI.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    @ShibaLove - Can you provide references for this information?
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • It's not TMI, but I will say this...Dr. Dodds is a recognized scholar on various dog ailments (esp. thyroid issues, but others as well), and well as a very good vet. I can't believe that they would market a test that would not work at all--not only is her reputation at stake (and the reputation of hemopet), but she certainly knows her stuff.

    So...I'm not willing to right it off that quickly.
  • ShibaLoveShibaLove
    Posts: 554
    As far as the food allergy vs intolerance facts here are two links from webmd and the mayo clinic stating the same thing. That intolerance does not invlove the immune system. I saw this pretty much anywhere I read about allergy vs intolerance.

    All of the talk about where antibodies are distributed comes from my general knowledge but is also straight out of Janeway's Immunobiology (the Immunology "Bible").

    The text pretty much explains it, but Figure 9.19 is where I was getting the relative amounts of different classes of antibodies in the blood. Figure 9.22 shows a rough distribution of the various classes of antibodies around the body.

    I have also done a quick pubmed search and found a few articles that report IgG and IgA to be the antibodies found in saliva. If there is IgM, which maybe you can find some but probably very little, it is not typical. due to this reason: "IgM molecules, however, form pentamers whose 10 antigen-binding sites can bind simultaneously to multivalent antigens such as bacterial capsular polysaccharides. This compensates for the relatively low affinity of the IgM monomers by multipoint binding that confers high overall avidity. As a result of the large size of the pentamers, IgM is mainly found in the blood and, to a lesser extent, the lymph." Quoted from Janeway's link above. It is too big.
  • For me, the jury is out on Dr. Dodds. I really don't know a lot about the efficacy of her methods although I am very curious to see how effective this test might be (I agree with Shibamistress that it sounds a hell of a lot better than an elimination diet!). That said, it is my impression that she is somewhat controversial and that is the reason why many vets are resistant to working with hemopet. My impression is that they think that more research/peer review is needed on a lot of her work for it to really be conclusive. Mostly, I just wanted to point out that while it is my impression that she is well respected among holistic practitioners, she has not won over more traditional ones and that is something to keep in mind.
  • Notoriousscrat: thanks for the tidbit on dr. dodds and peer review.....bringing her up just causes eyes to roll at most clinics. Have not met a traditional vet yet that says yay to Dr. D. in regard to allergies, vaccines or thyroid : (

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2012-10-24 18:07:21
  • Well, I guess your mileage may vary then. (you being a general you here) It's true that some vets think there has not been enough peer review. But her take on thyroid issues and vaccinations is spot on.

    I'm not really interested in following everything the medical industry says, whether that is the for human medicine or veterinary medicine. I much prefer a holistic practice. I don't need peer review to tell me the obvious, such as that certain herbs work well for the liver (like milk thistle) because I know that already, and we've got hundreds of years of herbalists experience to back that up.

    But I don't think saying that she is "controversial" means that what she is doing is wrong or doesn't work, though if people really need to have everything peer review, then, go for it.

    My vets, btw, who are super conservative, were not with Dr. Dodds at first on the thyroid issues. Then we started talking, they started researching, and comparing what she said with their years of experience and what they saw in their practice. Now they are believers. I don't think they like her that much more, but they do echo almost everything she says about thyroid issues.

  • Shibamistress: I have to agree with you on the peer review....not all peer reviews are created equal or necessarily of quality. I hate to see people "crutched" on it without looking at the bigger picture.

    Anyway, there are so many things that work that are of the holistic vein, and I am for that whenever possible. It is hard to change the mind set of some vets though, even with the literature.... Brick wall mentality basically.... so it's good to have a couple of reliable practitioners to fall back on when needed for various things. I have not found one that does it all yet, and is flexible enough to see different views. Frustrating how persistent one has to be if there is a medical issue, at least in our area.

  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    Bump! This is interesting, did anybody end up trying it?

    Saw this review

    Then I watched the video, and I think it would be hard to get my guy to sit still long enough to collect the saliva!
  • I am considering purchasing one of tests for Akai. He has been on several foods, probiotics and tested for parasites. He has some relief with a limited ingredient diet, but an upset stomach today. I am reluctant to fork over so much money because I really haven't heard much - good or bad. Have you or anyone you know performed this test. Was it worth it?
  • MikoMiko
    Posts: 225
    @reddevilakai maybe its not just the food, it can also be environmental allergies. Or he may just have a sensitive stomach/intolerance to certain ingredients since you didnt metion any itching.

    Have you tried a full elimination diet yet? Meaning no treats, no table scraps, nothing other than his food that contains one new protien source and one new carb source. It requires a lot of patience and consistency on your part, since you can only have your dog on one food for about 3 months.

    Heres a link for more info on the differences of an allergy/intolerance and also on how to do an elimination diet

    Btw I haven't done this form of testing but I did an elimination diet, to no avail, prior to doing a blood test and it turned out to be an allergy to mold and dust, which is very hard to get rid of fully in the house.
  • MayamaMayama
    Posts: 270
    For those who are interested in this type of test, you can also look into Glacier Peak Holistics' Allergy Test Kit.

    It was recommended to me by a Jindo owner who has a dog with severe itchiness and another with digestive issues. She told me the test help improved both dogs conditions a lot after she changed their diet based on the test results. I was a bit suspicious, since the testing methods aren't that scientific, but decided to give it a try as it is relatively cheap (compare to the many other things I've tried).

    I placed the order for the kit on 5/31 through their website and got the package around 6/5. (I found a few cheaper ones online, like from here and here, but after double checking with Glacier Peak, it was confirmed that the cheaper ones only have the food test while the more expensive one has 3 different tests: food, environmental, and beneficial holistic remedies.)

    The kit came in an envelope, with instructions, a form to fill out, a return envelope, a comb and some cotton swabs. All I had to do was to fill out the form, collect some hair and place the swabs in Maya's mouth for some saliva. The entire process took less than 10 minutes.


    I sent the samples back on 6/6 and got a confirmation on 6/8 that they received the mail. And today (6/19), Maya's result came back by email. I've uploaded a copy of the PDF here:

    Personally, I think the result is quite believable. It found her allergy to fleas, which was also found by the blood test. Some results also match my own observation, like her "sensitivity" to chicken, eggs, and wheat. However, some really surprised me, like sweet potato, duck and turkey, which I feed regularly. The "Probable Concerns" are also quite valid. As with her blood test, she's fine with all the environmental elements.

    According to the Jindo owner, food sensitivity may not be the same as allergies. It may not always cause itchiness, but during the seasons when their bodies are weaker, it could start trigger the itchiness and make it look like seasonal allergies.

    Regardless, I think this will be a helpful guideline for me to plan Maya's meals. I really hope this can help improve her conditions. Will update again once she's on her new diet for a while.

    The total cost -
    Test kit: $75.00
    Shipping: $2.22
    Mailing back the sample: $0.66
    Shiba Inu Maya's blog and FB page
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @Mayama, that's pretty cool, I hadn't heard of that one yet. Tempted to give it a try.
    Though I wonder how they can determine environmental factors from a saliva sample. It would be interesting to see how their results compared to a traditional test.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    @Mayama Very interesting and useful writeup!

    Hope Maya's summer allergies are treating her a little better this year?
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    @Mayama - Interesting find! Thanks for writing it up. Luckily both of my girls' allergies are under control, but for someone who is just starting to investigate potential allergies, this seems like an amazing tool.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • MayamaMayama
    Posts: 270
    @curlytails: She seems to be doing better than last year (knock on wood), but I know the real challenge is just starting. I think stopping all commercial treats and starting on a new CTM helped.

    @zandrame, @sunyata: I don't think this method is scientific enough to replace real allergy tests, but for someone who have tried almost everything, it's worth giving it a shot. At least there's no harm avoiding all the food that might be problematic.
    Shiba Inu Maya's blog and FB page
  • lawryslawrys
    Posts: 4
    It's been a while since anyone posted on this.
    Has anyone else tried either the Nutriscan or Glacier Peak Holistic's Allergy Test Kit? Or any other kit?
    How has your experience been? Do you trust the results and has changing diet based on the results helped?
    I have a Shiba that showed environmental allergy issues, but no food allergies with a blood test. I'm sure he still has some food intolerances, so I'm looking into other options for food testing.
  • @lawrys, call me crazy but I simply switched my dog tro raw and did an elimination diet. Turns out he is chicken intolerant. I trust that over a test.

  • rubyruby
    Posts: 175
    I thought I would bump this and share our experience with anyone interested.
    We have 2 shibas and have done this test the last 2 years. It was suggested by our vet when we had run out of options in finding out why our younger dog was having dietary issues and diarrhea.
    It is suggested to be repeated every 6 months to year as allergies change. Due to the cost ( up to $300 a dog) we waited a year between tests. The second year both dogs had different results than the first year so glad we retested.
    We have changed up their diets with no problem so for us it has been reliable information.

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