FAQs – Nutriscan


What about insurance?
Depending on your policy, most pet insurance companies cover not only routine checkups, but also emergency care, prescriptions, treatment and diagnostic testing such as CellBIO. Please check with your insurance provider or seek out health insurance for your companion pet.

What is the NutriScan Test? 
NutriScan is the only clinically predictable diagnostic test for dogs, cats and horses to identify the commonly seen food intolerances and sensitivities in saliva. It is not a test for the rarely seen true allergies to foods. The Nutriscan test is patent protected in the United States and internationally.

This test measures antibodies to 24 primary foods and a total of 112 related food ingredients in dog or cat saliva. High antibody levels indicate that the dog has a food sensitivity and intolerance to that food or foods. It is not a DNA test or a cheek/gum swab test.

By contrast, cheek or gum swabs alone do not generate sufficient biological fluid to quantitatively determine specific food reactivities. Simple positive or negative results, for instance from tissue swabs, do not provide information about the specificity or sensitivity of the assays used. Therefore, selection of foods based upon this type of information is medically and scientifically unreliable.

Does NutriScan Test for Allergies? 
No, NutriScan tests for food sensitivities and intolerances which are common, and not for true food allergies which are rare.

Is it different from other tests for food sensitivities/allergies? 
Yes, Nutriscan is unique, and quite different than serum-based tests for food reactions, food elimination trials, or skin patch testing with foods.

How does this test differ from other food "allergy" skin testing?
Skin testing used to be considered the “gold standard” of allergy testing. Aside from being unsightly and requiring that a large patch of skin be shaved, these tests are costly and do not always identify the true source of allergic reactions.

Why is salivary food sensitivity and intolerance testing more predictive than other food allergy testing?
Saliva testing can reveal the latent or pre-clinical form of food sensitivity, as antibodies to food ingredients appear in saliva several months before the clinical or  bowel biopsy diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease or “leaky gut syndrome” is made.  

Do we work with veterinarians?
Yes, veterinarians can create an account online 

Do we take international orders?
Yes, we do. For International Samples – including Canada and Mexico – US Customs clearance requires a letter specifying that the “sample is from a horse, dog or cat for diagnostic purposes only, and is non-infectious.” 

Does the test work in species other than dogs?
The initial Nutriscan test was only for dogs. It has since been expanded to cats and horses, but each species requires species-specific reagents to run the assay.

Does this test apply to healthy pets as well as those with known or suspected food reactivity?
Yes, because saliva testing can reveal the latent or pre-clinical form of food sensitivity, it can be used to predict a developing or latent food reaction.

How does this test differ from other food “allergy” tests on serum or feces?
Food allergy tests typically measure antibodies to IgG, IgD and IgE in serum or feces. These are typically more acute allergic or hypersensitivity reactions to foods, whereas NutriScan measures IgA    and IgM antibodies on the bowel’s mucosal surface, and thus more directly correlates to symptoms of bowel (GI tract) disease.

When do these food sensitivities typically appear once an offending food is eaten?Food hypersensitivities are usually seen acutely from as early as 2 hrs and up to 72 hrs after eating, so it can be difficult to connect symptoms with a food or foods eaten several days previously. There is a very high correlation between food hypersensitivity and the amount and frequency of the food consumed.

Yes; the pet should not eat anything for at least 8 hrs before saliva collection.

The test requires 0.5 ml of saliva so it can be run in duplicate. It is important to collect enough saliva.

You can place a piece of tempting food in front of the pet’s nose to stimulate salivation, but don’t let him actually eat the treat.

Yes; please try to minimize any contamination.

No, room temperature is fine. Please do not freeze the saliva sample.

Salivary antigens are stable for up to 30 days after collection.

Two types of antibodies (anti-IgA and anti-IgM) against different highly purified food antigen extracts are measured. The IgA antibody measures food reactions occurring on the bowel surface during the previous 2 years until the present. The IgM antibody measures the body’s primary defense response to exposures during the prior 5-6 months. These responses often do react in parallel towards the same food, as two different arms of the immune response are involved

Results are quantified in Units per ml of saliva.

The antibody levels present in the custom-made immunoassay plates are measured by optical density readings and these are converted to Units per ml of reaction.

Negative reactions measure less than 10 Units per ml of saliva.

Those between 10.00-11.49 Units per ml are considered weak reactions; those from 11.50 to 14.99 are borderline/intermediate and medium reactions. Strong reactions are 15.00 Units per ml or higher.

The clinical significance of the weak reactions is unclear, as they usually reflect assay background “noise”. However, in dogs with established clinical signs of food sensitivity, it would be prudent to avoid foods reacting close to the 11.50 Units per ml level.

We suggest repeat testing every 12-18 months in healthy pets, and every 4-6 months in food reactive pets.

He could, so we advise avoiding these meats.

He could, so we advise avoiding this meat.

Unlikely, but we advise avoiding milk and cheeses from them, as an added precaution.

He could, although not all cheese is made from the whey fraction of milk.

Possibly, although eggs are a protected food source, and so he may not react to chicken.

. Clinical trials included 566 dogs; each was tested with 6 primary food antigens for anti-IgA and anti-IgM in saliva and anti-IgG in serum.

  • 62% (352 of the 566) of the dogs tested showed weak, moderate or strong food reactivity to at least one food allergen.
  • 71% of the dogs tested showed weak, moderate or strong food reactivity to beef.
  • 71% of the dogs tested showed weak, moderate or strong food reactivity to wheat.
  • 70% of the dogs tested showed moderate or strong food reactivity to cow’s milk.
  • 57% of the dogs tested showed weak, moderate or strong food reactivity to corn.
  • Fewer dogs showed food reactivity to soy (25%) and very few to egg (3%).
  • Only one dog of 121 control dogs showed a mild anti-IgG reaction in serum, and only to wheat.

The choice is yours: But above all, you should know that we test for the antibodies critical to determining food sensitivity and intolerance, namely, IgA and IgM—in saliva, not in serum or swabs. No one else does this. Our focused salivary testing using the clinically relevant antibodies provides scientifically proven, novel veterinary diagnostics. Results of our research with this testing have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for both dogs and cats. Copies of these articles are available on our Nutriscan website.