Considering a food allergy test for your dog? You need to read this!

Considering a food allergy test for your dog? You need to read this!

This is an article that I've been looking to write up for some time, and this weekend really sealed it for me. We had not one, but several pet owners come in on Saturday stating that they had been advised by their vet to have a food allergy test done on their dog, (often at a cost of big bucks) and that this test has revealed a huge list of apparent food allergies for the pet. 

And the results of these tests always show that the pet is allergic to EVERYTHING! 

Chicken - No
Duck - No
Turkey - No
White Fish - No
Lamb - No
Beef - No
Venison - No

What is the poor hound going to eat? And can we rely on these very expensive tests being promoted by vets so zealously? 

In short, NO.

An article written by Brennen McKenzie, MSc, MA, VMD, cVMA, for the Veterinary Practice News in 2019 states:

"...the evidence in humans and in veterinary patients suggests most of these tests are unreliable. They not only waste money and effort, they can easily create inaccurate beliefs in pet owners about food ingredients, making appropriate nutritional management of patients more difficult."

If you have invested in an allergy test for your dog, then the results for the food testing may look something like this:


On this testing method, Brennen McKenzie states:

"...a number of studies have found that tests of serum immunoglobulins in dogs and cats are highly variable and not a reliable guide for diagnosis or clinical management."

Immunoglobulin serology is therefore not to be trusted. But hey, there's other allergy testing methods that vets suggest too, such as 'applied kinesiology' and 'iridology'. Are these any good?

'Fraid not...


"these are unequivocally nonsense and without any real scientific basis." says Brennan McKenzie. "...both expert consensus and institutional clinical practice guidelines recommend against using these tests."

So is there a reliable and trustworthy way of genuinely establishing if your pet has an Adverse Food Reaction (AFR)? The only way to test is to implement a novel-protein diet for at least 4 weeks. (If you need advice or support in implementing this, please let us know). 

So, in summary:
  • These tests are completely unreliable and may give totally false information about potential Adverse Food Reactions for your pet.
  • Changing your pets diet based on the feedback provided by these tests may mean that a bigger issue goes undiagnosed.
Adverse Food Reaction tests are aggressively promoted by vet practices.

If your vet offers you an AFR test, then perhaps consider finding another vet! I would be concerned that either they a) know everything written above, but just want the money anyway or b) they are not familiar with the above, (despite it being discussed at length by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2018), in which case, is this vet keeping up with learnings in the field of veterinary science? 

If you would like to read the full articles relating to this topic, please follow the links below:
BRENNAN MCKENZIE ARTICLE - CLICK HERE
NATIONAL LIBRARY FOR MEDICINE: Validity of skin testing for diagnosis of food allergy in dogs - CLICK HERE