Food Sensitivities vs Allergies for Pets


The mammalian body produces antibodies to defend itself from all types of “foreign invader” molecules.  Adverse food reactions are abnormal responses to ingested foods, and antibodies can be produced after eating a food the body deems as harmful.  Using antibodies in diagnostic testing for the commonly seen food sensitivities or intolerances is an effective way to identify offending foods. Differences between types of food sensitivities exist, and these are expressed by different antibodies.

In contrast, true food allergies are rare. They occur when the body reacts by producing the antibody, IgE, thereby causing an immediate, local or more violent reaction (e.g. hives, urticaria and anaphylaxis).  While testing for food allergies typically involves either a skin prick test or a blood test, these tests are generally considered unreliable and clinically unpredictable by physicians and veterinarians.  These tests do not identify food sensitivities and intolerances, which are believed to operate mostly through non-immunological mechanisms that are expressed by a variety of symptoms affecting the bowel and its microbiome, brain – the so-called “gut-brain axis”, and skin, with itching and scratching predominating.

The body produces the antibodies, IgA and IgM, to combat food sensitivity and intolerance, which is more common and can be life-long.  Sensitivity is a response to one or more particular foods or food ingredients found in a wide range of foods. The sensitivity can result from several reasons such as the absence or dysfunction of specific chemicals or enzymes needed to digest a food substance or an abnormality in the ability to absorb certain nutrients.  For instance, an irritable bowel (also called “leaky gut”) can be due to malabsorption or other abnormalities, that release specific lipids or other biomarkers of cellular oxidative stress.  See and

Our peer-reviewed scientific studies have documented that long term and delayed reactions to foods are accurately identified by using the NutriScan test. Dr. Dodds recommends that dogs, cats and horses are tested annually with Nutriscan, as like humans, food tolerances and intolerances are cumulative and change over time.                                 

A comprehensive approach to canine health and longevity is achieved when you combine the NutriScan and CellBIO tests.  (CellBIO is not yet available for cats)