Belgian researchers have found that some standard laboratory and commercial allergy tests for horses are unreliable and often return false-positives.

The research shows that some allergy tests may not be advisable or that multiple testing may be more accurate.

Although is about human food allergies, it pays to occasionally look at what is happening in veterinary fields as it can shed light on the types of research being done. This particular research shows that lab testing of pets for food allergies is often inaccurate. Tests for small animals have long been known to be unreliable. Now, Myriam Hesta, PhD, who lead this latest study, says large animal testing appears to be just as questionable.

Research on ponies included blood testing and food challenge tests

For the research, the team took blood samples from 17 healthy ponies and sent them to a commercial laboratory for allergy testing. These analyze the same immuno traces that many human-based tests will look for (IgE, etc). Two blood samples were taken from each pony at two separate times. All of the ponies were known to have no allergies.

Returns from the lab suggested that 10 of the ponies were positive for food allergy in at least one of the two samples. Those who were said to be positive for an allergy were then put on food challenge tests to determine if the allergy did, in fact, exist, and none showed any signs of an allergy.

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