Tuesday, July 21, 2020

5 Strands Affordable Testing for Pets

Does your cat have an occasional upset stomach, diarrhea, or itchy skin? Many times these symptoms only last a short time with no need to visit a veterinarian. However, as a pet parent, you would like to discover what caused the temporary symptoms in your cat and avoid future instances. Was the cause an allergy that has long term effects or an intolerance that is temporary but reoccurring?

If you have a cat who appears to have a reaction (sneezing, runny eyes, itchy skin) to fleas, food, or something in the environment, many veterinarians may recommend an allergy test. A vet may recommend the intradermal skin testing be performed by a veterinary dermatologist because of its reliability in determining exact allergens which can help them develop the appropriate serum for allergy shots. Some veterinarians may perform a serum allergy test such as the Radioallergosorbent test (RAST test), which is a blood test used to determine if a cat is allergic to certain antigens. Both of these tests are preformed by a veterinarian. Allergies usually occur quickly after exposure to an antigen. A pet may experience an intolerance to something in the environment or food that has a delayed response, such as hot spots, diarrhea, or runny nose.

Silver Persian Cat with 5 Strands Box
Truffle with the 5 Strands Affordable Testing Kit

5Strands® Affordable Intolerance Testing

If pet parents suspect their cat is experiencing an intolerance to something in the environment or food, they may consider the 5Strands® Affordable Intolerance Testing kit.  5Strands offers a Pet Intolerance Test that can be performed at home by collecting a sample of your cat's fur that is sent to the laboratory for analysis. 5Strands has developed testing for both humans and pets that test for food intolerances, environmental intolerances, nutritional imbalance, and metal & mineral imbalances. Collecting a hair sample is easier and more stable.


5Strands focuses on identifying answers for intolerance symptoms and not allergy symptoms. Intolerance symptoms are identified as hot spots and excessive hair loss; chewing on the paws and joint pain; and severe gas, diarrhea, and runny nose. Allergy symptoms that are not tested are swelling of the mouth, chin, and eyes; hives, eczema, vomit, and diarrhea; and ear infections, breathing difficulties, and snoring. Allergy testing can only be diagnosed through a blood test or a skin prick test by your veterinarian.

5Strands utilizes a hair sample collection method and bioresonance technology to identify temporary imbalances causing symptoms such as upset stomach, paw biting, excessive hair loss, hot spots, and itching. 

The Food Test includes key proteins, grains, fruits, vegetables, sweeteners, preservatives, gluten, lactose, and synthetic additives. 

The Environmental Test includes items such as cleaning materials, fabrics, pollen, trees, grasses, lotions, chemical, fleas, and dust mites.

The Nutrition Test will indicate which of the key vitamins, minerals, and amino acids the body is not absorbing properly.

The Metals & Minerals Test will indicate your cat's body's ability to process and eliminate the items tested.

Silver Persian cat sniffing fur
Truffle approving her fur sample

(Pet) Standard Package

The (Pet) Standard package tests 355 items that include the Food Intolerance Test and the Environmental Intolerance Test. This test is performed at home by collecting a sample of your cat's fur (preferably behind the ears) and placing it in the provided bag to be shipped to their laboratory. The test results take approximately 7-10 days after the sample arrives at the processing center. The results of the tests can be used as a screening tool to make necessary dietary and environmental lifestyle changes necessary to address your pet's issues. The 5Strands Affordable Pet Testing only tests for non-lgE mediated reactions or "intolerances."  5Strands Affordable Pet Testing does not test for lgE (Immunogloblin E) allergies, which are caused by the body's immune system.

Since the results indicate an intolerance and not an allergy, they allow you temporarily remove the item from your pet's environment or diet to help relieve the symptoms and slowly add it back once symptoms are reduced. 

5Strands encourages pet parents to share the results with your veterinarian.

silver shaded persian with 5Strands boxes
Brulee supervising the shipment of their fur samples

Living with Persian Cats

Truffle and Brulee do experience those occasional bouts of diarrhea, runny noses, or itching. I was very interested to see if there was something in the environment or in their food that caused these occasional symptoms. The test was very easy!

There is a form in the kit to complete for the specific cat you are obtaining the sample. Instructions are provided on collecting an appropriate hair sample. 5Strands recommends collecting the hair from behind the ears, if possible. They need between 10-15 strands of fur. I washed the comb before collecting each sample for Truffle and Brulee to avoid any possible cross test results. Once the fur sample was collected, it was placed inside a cellophane envelope and then placed inside a plastic bag and sealed. The information sheet and the fur sample were placed inside a pre-addressed and stamped envelope and sent for processing.

We received the test results within a week and can't wait to share our results with you. When we share our individual results, we're excited to announce that we'll host a giveaway for one of our readers to receive a 5Strands Pet Intolerance Test (dog or cat).


AADC (2020). Skin Testing. Animal Allergy & Dermatology Clinichttps://www.aadconline.com/content/skin-testing

Barnette, Catherine, DVM (2020). RAST Testing in Cats. VCA Hospitalshttps://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/rast-testing-in-cats

Vet Street (February 21, 2014). Allergy Testing. Vet Streethttp://www.vetstreet.com/care/allergy-testing

Would you like to comment?

  1. I can't wait to find out the results!

  2. I've been looking closely at these tests. I strongly suspect Bear's "IBD" is actually a food intolerance. Our vet has been completely uninterested in getting to the bottom of that matter - so we're left treating the symptoms. Even more, I think his food issues cause inflammation of the pancreas - which could be connected to his blood sugar levels. Testing my theory is complicated - because the last time I switched his food, he had such a horrible reaction - a test like this sounds like the best option instead of testing food by food. He's been overgrooming his belly for years - and we assumed it was behavioral - but now I'm starting to wonder if that was just the first symptom of the problem.

  3. Very interesting! Luckily, Lexy and I are healthy cats. Well, I have my sneezes and runny nose, but that's because I was so sick as a kitten. We can't wait to read the results.

  4. This is fascinating, and I didn't know that it existed.
    The information that you receive will be very interesting to hear about.

  5. It's amazing what we can find out these days!

  6. That sounds like a great test.

  7. I will look into getting one of these for my dog, Nelly. She is very itchy, especially in the summer.

  8. Really interesting! My dog, Kitsune, has a lot of allergy issues that we've, for the most part, learned how to manage well. I've always wondered how accurate tests like these are. I've heard mixed reviews, even about the tests the vets can do, so I've always been kind of weary of the at home tests. Looking forward to hearing your results!

  9. Sounds really interesting and cannot wait to hear more from you as I have been thinking of doing it with Layla lately as her allergies are so bad poor thing

  10. Oh, how clever. I believe that fur analysis has a great untapped potential. We have used fur analysis in the past and one can learn a lot of interesting and useful information. One thing to remember, though, the analysis is only as good as the interpretation the provider offers.

    When we tested Jasmine, it was with Dr. Frick and the information she provided with the test results was detailed, comprehensive and helpful. When we decided to test Cookie, we discovered a Canadian provider but while the test included all kinds of levels of things, the commentary with that was canned, impossible to understand and useless.

  11. How very cool. I’d like to test Jeremy. I really suspect his stuff is more anxiety but it would be nice to know if it’s environmental.

  12. This is really interesting! I am well versed with how long and drawn out allergy testing can be due to my pup and the fact she's allergic to EVERYTHING (seriously, it's crazy). However, having gone through that process, I love that there are alternatives like this that could provide the information you need for intolerances without having to jump right to irritating and uncomfortable allergy testing. Moving forward, I'd prefer to try this out and apply the knowledge I gain (for example, avoiding a food to limit/eliminate reactions). If that works, there's no need to proceed to the next step!

  13. this sounds a great idea to help narrow down those frustrating sniffles and itches that we are all desperate to sort out! This will help narrow down the options.


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