Quote: My dog has a chicken “allergy”, which means he is also “allergic” to turkey, duck, pheasant, quail, ostrich and all poultry.

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For many of you who follow my Blog, you are probably shocked I used such a statement as the entry topic for a post. But, I often hear it and wanted to address it.

In my previous post, “Food Sensitivity vs. Food Allergy: Is it not really just the same thing?”, I detailed the immunological differences between food sensitivities and food allergies, which are actually hypersensitivities. As I have stated in the past, food sensitivities are at least 10 – 15 times more common than food allergies. I recognize it is woven into our vernacular to assign the term “allergy” to any sensitivity. However, this is incorrect as it is not indicative of the physiological and immunological reactions that take place. So, it is best to say “sensitive” whether it be a true – but rare – food allergy, or the more common sensitivity.

Secondly, you could be denying your companion animal a vital protein source with the bold assertion that if your pet is sensitive to chicken he must be sensitive to ALL poultry. This is not the case. Since the Hemolife Diagnostic team and I officially introduced duck as one of the foods tested with NutriScan in September 2013, the data in Table 1 clearly demonstrate that dogs and cats who react to chicken are NOT always sensitive to other feathered creatures and vice versa.

The primary difference between each of the bird species is a simple answer: evolution. Yes; current research is showing that genomes between avian species have less copy number variants than mammalians. So, the logical assumption that your pet is sensitive to one bird protein and will be to another, is not necessarily true. Avians have different chromosome sequences that have adapted over millions of years. For example, due to the flying and swimming activities of ducks and geese, their muscles receive more oxygen via red blood cells than land fowls. Myoglobins hold the oxygen in the muscles, which give goose and duck meats darker colors compared to chicken, quail, pheasant and turkey meats.

Other factors – such as farming practices, sourcing and feeds given to the animal – also impact your pet’s reactions to certain foods. I will delve further into those topics in subsequent Blog posts. In the meantime, please do not presume these statistics automatically apply to your companion animal as NutriScan is based on nutrigenomics, which is the science that studies the molecular relations between nutrition and the response of genes. Nutrigenomics affects every individual differently based on that individual’s genetic makeup. The takeaway is that I ask you to please be open to other protein sources. This will give your companion animal the right nutritional balance for a long and healthy life.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Table 1


Dalloul, Rami A; Long Julie A; Zimin, Aleksey V; et al. “Multi-Platform Next-Generation Sequencing of the Domestic Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo): Genome Assembly and Analysis,” PLOS Biology: 2010, September 7. Retrieved on January 2, 2014: http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1000475.

Kayang, BB; Fillon, V; Inoue-Murayama, M; et al. “Integrated maps in quail (Coturnix japonica) confirm the high degree of synteny conservation with chicken (Gallus gallus) despite 35 million years of divergence”, BMC Genomics: 2006, May 2. Retrieved on January 2, 2014: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16669996.

Skinner, BM; Robertson, LB; Tempest, HG; et al.“Comparative genomics in chicken and Pekin duck using FISH mapping and microarray analysis,” BMC Genomics: 2009, August 5. Retrieved on January 2, 2014: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19656363.

Völker, M; Backström, N; Skinner, BM; et al.“Copy number variation, chromosome rearrangement, and their association with recombination during avian evolution,” Genome Res: 2010, April. Retrieved on January 2, 2014:

UCSC Genome Bioinformatics, http://genome.ucsc.edu.

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