At one point or another, every pet parents  will one day be faced with that question of “to test or not to test.” Their concern, if they were to be honest is:  Are we going to test ourselves into a financial hole?

No one wants to take a risk with their pet’s health, but we might wonder:  How many tests do you really need to do?

Obviously, it depends on what’s going on. 

Most frequently, people are reaching out to me when their pets have some sort of issue – intestinal/digestion in this case.  And wow, there are an amazing number of tests available on the market, which is cool. The more we know, the more specifically we can respond to any situation. Some of these tests can be really useful. But sometimes we test ourselves into fear and paralysis; because we are waiting for a definitive diagnosis and, in some frustrating cases, there is no such thing.

Sometimes the answer is simply “my pets guts (or immune system) are all kinds of screwed up.”

Other times we perform a test and we address the one item identified by the test,  and risk not looking at everything that’s going on with our pet as a whole.

Sometimes, what you really need is somebody to help you put the whole picture together. This is why my phone consultations can be so useful.

So maybe I would do best by giving you a couple of specific examples:

Meet Berman. This poor guy has had lots of testing. He had blood test for allergies, which showed a little bit of environmental allergies. But nothing was extreme. So it doesn’t make sense to do desensitization shots. He had a blood test for food allergies. What a waste of time and money! Blood tests for food allergies are only 50% accurate. That means they’re 50% inaccurate. You could just as easily put 30 food names into a bag and pull them out and guess. NOTE: There are more accurate food allergy tests. Saliva-based food allergy tests  have been quite accurate. But you still have to know what you’re looking at, because if a dog is allergic to every single protein on the saliva test, is it really truly an allergy? Or is it an absolutely screwed up immune system? Hint: It’s not a food allergy. 

More on Berman: He had a biome test. And his biome is all screwed up, but we knew that because he always has soft poop. Sometimes it might be a little soft. At other times, it might be screaming diarrhea. And there seems to be no correlation from food today to an event that happened to how his poop looks. So then we did a leaky gut panel. The result? He has leaky gut! While we already knew that, his mom needed the test to prove it.

Now we have the definitive test that says Berman has leaky gut. So now we’ve got to slowly introduce things to his diet to try to help his gut without making everything else worse. We could keep testing. But why? We know he has leaky got. He has every symptom, and we even finally found a test that demonstrates that well. Still, we have to fix the problem that the lab test identified. Poor little guy. Oh. Did I mention he’s a doodle? I love doodles. They are the sweetest dogs ever! Unfortunately, I find an awful a lot of of them have messed up guts. So far, a slippery elm mixture is making a huge difference.
Lesson:  Which tests were MOST beneficial?  To his Mom, she needed that leaky gut diagnosis. To me, what we needed was the test that would convince mom we needed to work on Berman’s guts.  

Meet Josie, who had tons of testing before she came to me. She even had the right testing. She had intestinal toxin report that revealed the presence of Clostridium Perfringens Type A toxin in her intestines. But the report said that it’s not a big deal and that we don’t worry about Clostridium Perfingens Type A  in most dogs. So the original vet ignored it. I didn’t. Once we addressed it, we actually saved our girl! Diet change, several different herbs were the trick.
The lab test GUIDED our treatment, so it was great to have identified the culprit! 

Meet Artemis – The problem? We couldn’t get the roundup (from his food!) out of his body.  We couldn’t get the roundup out.  We couldn’t get the roundup out. And his skin was outrageously itchy, and his feet were swollen and infected and his ears were so painful, you couldn’t go near them. They hurt so bad!

And then we discovered that the amazing raw goat milk we were feeding was coming from goats that were, unfortunately, fed conventional corn (which means it was treated with round up). It takes a bunch of people to put their minds together to figure out what’s going on. We finally got the roundup out. Because we changed the goat milk to a local farm that doesn’t use conventionally raised corn in the feed . Then, we added some herbs to balance his immune system. Knock on wood – he’s getting better.
No lab test needed. 

Meet Lucy. When her owners did the biome test, they were so excited because the results told them to add fiber to her diet. Of course, they ran right out and got her some Metamucil, which  — unfortunately for Lucy, whose salivary food allergy report indicated a severe allergic to wheat — is wheat a based product. Lucy never recovered, even though we had the necessary information to heal her via the lab test.

So what about those mail-in sensitivity tests? I like the sensitivity test; but ultimately they are measures of inflammation. The more inflamed the pet, the more things that show up on the sensitivity test. And so do you have to take all of those things listed on the sensitivity test out of the dog or cat’s life? Probably not. You really have to fix the underlying reason for all the horrible inflammation.

Recently I’ve been coordinating with someone who has a dog with, you guessed it, messed up guts. And these guts have been messed up for years. And the owner keeps going to the vet and the vet keeps doing the same thing and nothing gets any better. I almost had her coming in for an appointment. But then she decided to do yet one more test. And that’s fine. But how about we get to work on the little baby?

That’s what I mean when I say you can test yourself into a hole. I know what the results of the test are going to be. They’re going to be terrible! This dog has bad intestines, bad poop, poor appetite, and is skinny. You know the biome is screwed up. If you’ve got an extra $300 to do another test then I guess go for it. Why not?

But don’t wait to come up with a plan.  Know how you’ll use the results of whatever lab test you order. And of course, get professional help putting it all together. Click here to schedule an online consult with me.

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