Sensitivity or Allergy

Understanding your pet's symptoms is crucial for determining the most effective treatment approach.

We test for sensitivities NOT allergies

It is important to reiterate that this test is NOT for allergy. It is easy to confuse allergy and sensitivity or intolerance as the different terms are often used interchangeably, which leads to misinterpretation. Allergy and sensitivity are not the same. Of course if someone is allergic to a food item it could be described as being ‘sensitive’ however as a health condition allergy is different from sensitivity or intolerance.

There are a couple of fundamental differences between allergy and sensitivity; having food sensitivity may be uncomfortable and cause symptoms that, whilst annoying, embarrassing or even debilitating, do not have the potential to be life threatening like those caused by food allergy; food sensitivity can also change over time, it can often be overcome through implementation of a food elimination diet and/or improving gut health, however food allergy tends to be lifelong.


The physiological process, which takes place in the body during an allergic reaction, is also entirely different to that of sensitivity. An allergic reaction involves the immune system and cells called antibodies, whereas this is not involved in sensitivity. Hair testing does not test antibody levels therefore this is why it cannot be used to test for allergy.

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  • Scenario 1

    The item your pet is allergic to shows as a moderate or high reactivity item.

    This means that as well as a food allergy your pet has a food sensitivity. If you have already removed this item from your pets diet you do not need to take any action. If you have not removed it previously, it is worth considering doing so, however we would not recommend reintroduction following the elimination diet.

  • Scenario 2

    The item your pet is allergic to shows as a no reactivity item.

    This means that your pet does not have food sensitivity to this item however the result does not question or contradict the presence of a food allergy to the item. It does NOT mean you should reintroduce the item to their diet, you should respect the symptoms or test results your pet has had previously with regards to allergy. Remember this test does not test for allergy.

Everyday Foods

It is common for a food item consumed in the daily diet or very frequently, to test as a moderate or high sensitivity item. This can happen with food sensitivity and may be due to the body suddenly struggling to process or breakdown particular constituents of the food. This could be caused by overconsumption of a food group or could be down to an imbalance in gut bacteria or the presence of low-level inflammation in the gut.


Whatever the cause do not despair. We are talking about food sensitivity and NOT allergy; therefore completing a food elimination diet with subsequent reintroduction can help. This may mean your pet needs to eliminate a favourite food or staple in their diet for a period of weeks but
you will be able to reintroduce the item. Eliminating food items for a period of time can allow the gut time to ‘rest’ from trigger foods and the reintroduction of items can allow you to assess how a food or food group makes your pet feel.

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