New Test Identifies Troublesome Equine Foods

A saliva test checks a horse’s sensitivity to everything from alfalfa and apples to sugar beets and wheat.

Dr. W. Jean Dodds’ company, Hemopet, has diagnostic and blood bank divisions. She also runs a greyhound adoption program.


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Veterinary diagnostics expert W. Jean Dodds, DVM, has released a version of the NutriScan food sensitivity test for the equine market.

The saliva-based test requires a horse to chew on a cotton rope, which is then checked to detect the animal’s intolerance to different foods. They include alfalfa, apples, barley, Bermuda grass, brome grass, carrots, corn, cotton seed, fescue grass, flaxseed, Kentucky blue grass, meadow foxtail, molasses, oatmeal, orchard grass, red clover, rice, rye, rye grass, sugar beets, timothy grass and wheat.

NutriScan, which also comes in canine and feline kits, “is simply another tool in a horse caregiver’s arsenal,” Dr. Dodds said.

“Show, racing and recreational horses need to be in top condition at all times,” she said. “Horses do stop to pass stool. Several stops, though, are aggravating for the rider and may indicate that the horse is uncomfortable, distressed and in pain.”

NutriScan for horses required two years of research, said Dodds, the founder of Hemopet, a Garden Grove, Calif., diagnostics laboratory and canine blood bank. NutriScan canine and feline saliva tests were released five and two years ago, respectively.

The equine test is not the first on the market. Competing products examine the antibodies IgE and IgG through a blood sample, while NutriScan measures the antibodies IgA and IgM in saliva, according to Hemopet.

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