June 15, 2024
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For my canine, a four-year-old Chiweenie, his allergy journey started with a recurring ear an infection that got here out of nowhere. He would scratch his ear so arduous that he would cry, leading to a visit to the veterinarian’s workplace. Prescription ear drops would clear up the an infection, however after a number of weeks, I might discover the identical painful scratching as soon as once more, requiring one other vet go to and but extra ear drops. I requested my vet what was making my canine’s recurring ear points, and he stated an allergy is likely to be guilty.

It was the start of an extended course of—one a stunning variety of canine dad and mom undergo. Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, Chief Veterinarian at Kleinburg Veterinary Hospital and Rover Dog People panelist, estimates that as a lot as 20% of her caseload consists of itch circumstances. Many are the results of allergy symptoms to a meals or surroundings.


The signs of a canine allergy usually embody itchy or infected pores and skin, hair loss, runny eyes, gastrointestinal points like vomiting or diarrhea, or—in my case—ear infections.

And they’re notoriously troublesome to pinpoint, as I found after I got down to examine.

How Dog Allergy Testing Works

I already had a suspect. A number of months earlier than the infections began, I had switched my canine from the salmon-based, grain-free kibble he’d eaten all his life to the same one which had grains. I modified out the grain in my canine’s weight loss program, however after testing three totally different kibbles with no lower in ear infections and itching, I spotted that discovering the allergen wasn’t going to be as straightforward as I’d hoped.

That, too, is a standard theme within the allergy odyssey of pet dad and mom in all places: testing exhaustion. A correct take a look at requires you to isolate only one variable at a time and exclude that out of your canine’s weight loss program and surroundings for six to eight weeks. Every failed take a look at means nearly two extra months of itching and infections.

Chiweenie lays on couch, looking tired

DeborahMaxemow through iStock

There are medical assessments a pet can endure to speed up the method, however every comes with its personal set of problems.

Intradermal testing is the unique gold normal. It includes shaving a patch of your canine’s pores and skin, then injecting small quantities of potential allergens and monitoring the outcomes. It’s usually solely carried out by veterinary dermatologists. A pet must be sedated to endure it, and it’s very, very dear.

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Blood testing is simpler. It’s one thing your individual vet can carry out, and whereas it hasn’t traditionally been as correct as IDT, a rising physique of proof means that it might assist your vet design an efficient allergy shot profile—the objective in situations the place eradicating an allergen isn’t sensible.

My vet’s workplace quoted me $900 for an in-office allergy blood take a look at.

It was considerably greater than I had hoped to spend, so I turned to the web—and that’s when I discovered the 5Strands take a look at.

What the 5Strands Dog Allergy Test Promises

The 5Strands take a look at makes a powerful promise: their Pet Standard take a look at can evaluation your pet’s compatibility with 275 widespread business pet meals elements and 105 environmental elements, together with family cleaners, grasses and pollens, materials, and the dander of their fellow pets.

On the meals entrance, it guarantees to flag fruit, greens, proteins, and grains, dividing them into three classes. Foods that fall into the Level 1 and a pair of classes ought to be provided to your pet solely often, whereas Level 3 intolerances ought to be instantly eradicated out of your pet’s weight loss program for a testing interval of six to eight weeks.

No blood or pores and skin is required—simply 10–15 strands of your pet’s hair, which you submit through mail. After your pattern arrives on the 5Strands testing facility, it’s processed inside seven days, and the outcomes are emailed to you.

The present worth of a 5Strands take a look at is $148—not even a fifth of the price of a blood take a look at. It sounded fairly nice.

But earlier than you rush out and purchase one in your itchy pup, there are some things to know.

First, on the subject of allergy symptoms, as Dr. Rebecca Greenstein factors out, “We don’t have any proof in any respect that fur is a sort of tissue value testing.”

“It’s not that it’s unimaginable,” she clarifies. “But we’ve a lot proof that tells us what’s value testing, and science doesn’t help testing fur.”

Then there’s the strategy itself. The 5Strands take a look at makes use of bioresonance know-how to scan the hair pattern—a pseudoscientific approach based mostly on the concept that sure electromagnetic patterns can point out an “intolerance” to a meals or object. It’s telling that the 5Strands take a look at avoids the usage of the phrase “allergy” on its packaging, opting as a substitute to name itself an “intolerance” or “sensitivity” take a look at. There’s additionally a disclaimer on the 5Strands web site: “Our technique of testing doesn’t take a look at for IgE or IgG mediated responses or true allergy symptoms.”

Still, I used to be curious. Considering it was a fraction of the value and fewer invasive than a blood or intradermal pores and skin take a look at, I made a decision to offer it a shot, albeit with a wholesome dose of skepticism.

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How the 5Strands Test Works

dog allergy test

The 5Strands testing package arrived with a bit of assortment bag and a return envelope to ship again my pet’s hair pattern. Fortunately, as a result of my canine sheds quite a bit, accumulating the 10-15 strands of hair was as straightforward as brushing his coat. Once the take a look at had processed, 5Strands emailed me the outcomes: a 10-page PDF attachment.

It listed all of the allergens that 5Strands examined the hair pattern for and provided a proof of how the corporate rated the extent of intolerance. Red flagged extreme Level 3 intolerances, whereas yellow indicated a average Level 2 intolerance. Green was a light Level 1, and grey indicated an insignificant response that didn’t meet the testing threshold.

Here’s what one web page of my canine’s allergy take a look at regarded like:

pet allergy test results

I used to be stunned by the amount of issues my canine was illiberal to. Interestingly, salmon, which was the principle ingredient in my canine’s unique kibble, was marked grey, which meant (in keeping with 5Strands) that he may tolerate it with no downside.

Both hen and hen meal have been Level 2 intolerances. I in contrast the outcomes to the elements within the new kibbles that I had been giving my canine, and hen and hen meal have been among the many first in each “salmon-flavored” meals with grains that I had tried—however not within the unique grain-free kibble my canine had eaten for therefore a few years.

The report additionally flagged some grain intolerances: white rice was a no-go, however brown rice and wheat have been simply tremendous.

So, with the 5Stands outcomes readily available, I researched canine meals. Finding a kibble that didn’t have hen or hen meal as the primary few elements was not straightforward, however finally, I zeroed in on a dry pet food method that labored for my canine’s allergy symptoms: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach, Salmon and Rice method.

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So Does the 5Strands Test Really Work?

It’s been a 12 months since I began feeding my canine the brand new Purina meals, and he hasn’t had a single ear an infection.

So it seems that the 5Strands take a look at helped me work out my canine’s recurring meals allergy/itching/ear an infection downside, and I didn’t need to shell out nearly a thousand {dollars} for a blood take a look at. That stated, there’s at present no scientific proof to help why it labored—and if my canine’s allergy issues have been extra critical or not solvable by switching meals, I wouldn’t hesitate to hunt out a canine allergy take a look at at my vet’s workplace.

Dr. Greenstein stays skeptical. “Chicken is among the most typical canine allergy symptoms. It’s not that there’s something fallacious with hen—however plenty of canines will be allergic to it. If I printed experiences that stated, ‘You’re allergic to hen,’ I’d do fairly nicely.”

Perhaps the actual benefit of the 5Strands take a look at is that it encourages pet dad and mom to comply with a scientific course of for allergy testing—a six to eight week elimination interval of fashionable allergens.

Dr. Greenstein is sympathetic. “These circumstances will be irritating, and there’s nobody fast repair, as a result of the problem is advanced. Just since you don’t need to pursue costly testing doesn’t imply your vet doesn’t have time to go over it with you. Your vet is a superb useful resource that will help you work by means of an inventory of allergens in a method that’s systematic.

“I would like pet dad and mom to know they’re not alone,” Dr. Greenstein concludes. With pet allergy symptoms on the rise, that’s more true yearly.

However you resolve to conduct your take a look at, one of the best instrument in your arsenal is endurance.

5Strands Pet Test

5Strands pet sensitivity and intolerance testing kit

This comparatively reasonably priced take a look at claims to assist determine your pet’s intolerances to widespread pet meals elements and different issues of their surroundings by analyzing a hair pattern.

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Further Reading

  • Dog Allergy Supplements: Are They Right for My Dog?
  • The 12 Best Chicken-Free Foods for Dogs With Sensitivities or Allergies
  • These 20 Best Pet Hair Vacuums Really Work
  • The Top 11 Hypoallergenic Dog Foods for Pups With Allergies

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