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Safe food for man's best friend

One of the first on-the-spot food allergy tests for dogs is about to hit the market thanks to a partnership set up by the Enterprise Europe Network

While allergies among humans are nothing new, you may not know that pets can also suffer from them. Dogs, for example, are sometimes allergic to beef, eggs, milk, soybeans, wheat and corn.

Italian research group Nutrigene has developed low-cost diagnostic kits for pet food intolerance. Armed with a methodology developed by a team of scientists that included leading biomedical veterinarian W. Jean Dodds from the US, the firm wanted to find a partner to bring the kits to market.

"They first searched locally in Italy but they didn't find the right company," said Marco Gorini, of Veneto Innovazione Spa the Network office in the Northeast of Italy. "That's when they decided to enlarge the search internationally. I helped them to fill in the partner search profile and published it in the Network's powerful partnership database."

Nutrigene received six expressions of interest: two from Germany, one from Belgium, one from Spain and two from Switzerland. After sorting through the profiles Nutrigene decided that German company Diagnostische Systeme & Technologien (DST) fitted the bill.

DST had experience with human rather than animal allergy kits, although the challenge was essentially the same. The ultimate goal, according to Marc Dangers, DST's head of research and development, is a testing kit that will give fast results to reassure potential owners who have pets that appear to react to their foods. "If the Network had not existed we would never have got in contact," Dangers said. The allergy tests themselves were tested initially in the US with veterinarians' patients before the product rollout. In the US the firm, Hemopet, has launched the product under the brand name Nutriscan. Hundreds of kits have been sent out, while demand from Europe and elsewhere is reported to be strong.

"Finding the right industrial partner with the specific competences is a hard issue," said Nutrigene. "Thanks to Veneto Innovazione and the Enterprise Europe Network we managed to get in contact with several potential partners and to choose the best one."

The food intolerance tests will initially focus on dogs though there are plans to expand to cats and possibly horses...

http://www.enterprise-europe-network.ec.europa.eu/success-stories/safe-food-mans-best-friend

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