Category Archives: Cardiovascular

National Boss’ Day

National Boss’ Day

Today is National Boss’ Day

For all the brave men and women out there that dared to be bold enough to start their own business, we salute you!

Today I would like to acknowledge the woman that had the vision to start our company. Lisa Blaurock is the founder of 5Strands Affordable testing. After working with her husband in a very successful roofing business and two children later, she was struggling with her weight. She eventually decided to have the lap band surgery done. While finally losing weight, she started to develop what the Doctors thought were complications from the lap band. The recommendation was to remove the band. She went ahead with the removal, but the symptoms did not go away and the weight started creeping back on. Another Doctor suggested Allergy/Intolerance testing that would cost $850! Desperate for answers, she went ahead with the testing and found out she was gluten and dairy intolerant among lots of other things. She immediately eliminated all the items that she was intolerant to and all of the symptoms (heartburn, burping, upset stomach) she was experiencing started to go away. All of the issues she was having were from the food she was eating for years.

Several months later, one of her daughters that was a college athlete was complaining of a constant stomach ache and bloating. Lisa knew that she should be tested for intolerances also but did not want to spend another $850! She did some research and found another lab that would do the same type of tests for $250. After her daughter’s results were received, they found out she was gluten and dairy intolerant also!

The second daughter started complaining about similar symptoms and Lisa said there has got to be a cheaper way for these tests to be done. After long hours of research, she found a lab that was willing to partner with her in selling the test at an affordable price. Not really looking to start a new business but rather looking forward to retirement, she was actually pushed by a 22 year old family friend into starting this business to help other people that are in a similar situation. That is how Affordable Allergy Test was created. After several months of successfully selling the test for humans, people were asking about getting their pets tested. Being a pet parent to 4 dogs and 3 cats, it was natural that the next test would be geared towards pets. Hence the making of Affordable Pet Test.

Affordable Pet Test has taken on a life of its own. It has changed the lives of so many pets and her long term goal is to provide tests for shelters and rescue groups in order to help the pets with skin and allergy issues to get adopted.

It has been truly amazing to watch the growth and the inspiration that Lisa has provided to her employees and to others during this journey. We all can not wait to see what else she has in store for us all.



People Foods That Can Be Harmful to Pets

People and pets are different in many ways. What may be safe for you to eat may be toxic to your furry friend. Sometimes the effects of food toxicity in pets aren’t always obvious, which may lead you to think that certain foods are okay or safe for your pet. In reality, they are not!

While there are many fruits and veggies that are completely safe for your pet to consume and others that may only cause mild indigestion, in this blog post, I would like to review the most common foods that are NOT safe for pets!

This is not an exhaustive list, so remember to always look up a food item before giving it to your pet to ensure that it’s safe. If you’re in doubt, better to be cautious and not share the food with your pet to protect their health and prevent accidentally poisoning!

“Do Not Eat” List


Under no circumstances should you give your pet any alcohol. Even just a small amount can cause vomiting, diarrhea, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.


The skin, leaves, and pits of avocados have persin, which is toxic to dogs and can cause diarrhea and vomiting. The flesh of the fruit doesn’t have much of this toxin, but it is still a lot for your dog’s system. Avocado is even more of a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, sheep, goats, etc. Another concern is that the large seeds can become lodged in your pet’s stomach, esophagus or intestinal tract.


Bones from poultry and fish tend to be very brittle, especially after being cooked. If the bone splinters or breaks when chewed, it could get stuck in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract. Raw bones can also be very dangerous for domesticated animals, as they can choke on them.

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine

These products contain methylxanthines, which are very dangerous to a pet’s health. When ingested by pets methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.


The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, may only cause minor stomach upset.

Coconut and Coconut Oil

When ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet. The flesh and milk of fresh coconuts contain oils that may cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet.

Grapes and Raisins

Dogs shouldn’t eat grapes or raisins as they are highly toxic and can lead to acute and sudden kidney failure. Even only a few grapes can be fatal for your dog.

Milk and Dairy

Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.


Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats that can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and even pancreatitis in pets. Macadamias are especially dangerous for pets. They can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia.

Onions, Garlic, Chives

In all forms (powdered, raw, cooked, etc.) these foods can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if they consume enough of any of these foods.

Raw/Undercooked Meat & Eggs

Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to both pets and humans. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems.

Salt and Salty Snack Foods

Large amounts of salt can result in excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. Avoid feeding salt-heavy snacks like chips, pretzels, and salted popcorn to your pets.


Just like in humans, sugary foods can lead to dental problems, diabetes and obesity.

Potatoes and Tomatoes

Contain oxalates which can cause abnormalities in your dog’s digestive tract, kidneys and nervous system. Green tomatoes are especially harmful.


Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. Xylitol can cause insulin release, which can lead to liver failure, seizures and brain damage.


Yeast, a common ingredient in bread dough, is dangerous for dogs. It can expand in their stomach and cause organs to tear or twist. Symptoms of yeast consumption include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach bloating. Some yeast dough also ferments, which can lead to alcohol toxicity.

“Supervise” List

The following items are not as harmful to pets, but should be well-supervised.


Asparagus isn’t toxic but, isn’t beneficial either. It’s best not to give it to your dog to eat raw because it is too hard and tough to chew. And, when cooked, it loses most of the nutrients.


Store-bought mushrooms aren’t toxic or harmful to dogs, but they should still be avoided. 100 out of the 50,000 species of mushrooms are toxic to dogs, so just in case, it’s best to keep your dog away from all of them.

Unique “No’s”

While the list of toxic foods is standard for most pets, each pet is unique and may react differently to other foods. 5Strands Affordable Testing helps identify over 200 potentially harmful foods for your pet.

Our testing checks for potential intolerances to most of the harmful foods on this list, reinforcing what not to feed your pet.

In Case of Emergency

If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the toxic foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center as soon as possible.

Final Words

So next time your pet begs for people food, remember to make sure your leftovers or snacks are safe for your fur baby to eat!

Do you have a personal food “warning” story to share? Let me know in the comments section.

Pet Adoption The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Pet Adoption: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Six Things to Consider Before Adopting

Adopting a pet can be a wonderful thing for you and the pet. Are you ready to be the best pet parent you can be? Opening your home up to an adopted pet and committing to providing a good life for them rescues them from a terrible situation. You’ll learn so much about yourself along the way. Taking care of a pet can be a good way to help determine if you’re ready to have a child. Or, if you have children, pets can help teach them responsibility. Before adopting a new pet, consider these six important things:

Will the pet fit your lifestyle? Wanting a pet is one thing, but being able to take care of the pet is another. If you are traveling a lot, it may be difficult to provide all the pet’s needs, unless there are others you can depend on to help you. Cats are generally easier to take care of than dogs, once cats know how to use a litter box. As long as you can feed cats daily or have an automatic feeder, and have a litter box, they are pretty much self-sufficient. Dogs aren’t as self-sufficient as cats so they require a bit more time, attention, and training. If left unattended, dogs can be destructive, so training to prevent this is recommended.

Does the pet’s personality match yours? Are you a high-energy person or pretty relaxed? Do you enjoy being outdoors or are you a homebody? These factors and many others should be considered before adopting. If you are very active, then you would be able to handle a highly active dog. Being a disciplined person also helps with being consistent for a dog. If you live a more sedentary lifestyle, a lower energy dog or cat might be your best bet.

Can you commit to training? How much time do you have to train your newly adopted pet? Consider the time and consistency needed for the type of pet and the behaviors you would like. Once you train a cat to use their litter box, they are generally low-maintenance as far as training goes. A dog will usually take more time and consistency depending on how you would like them trained. You can train them to use the bathroom on training pads when you are not home or train them to hold it until you return. Whether you want them to be a service dog, guard dog, sports dog, house dog, or any of the other endless possibilities, consider the amount of time and consistency needed to train and maintain them. If they are high energy, they will generally need more strict training and guidance.

How to make your home pet friendly: Do you live in an apartment or house? With others or alone? Before adopting, consider where you would like your pet to be in your place. You may have to put up pet fences to restrict access to certain areas. They may have accidents, so keeping them somewhere that is easy to clean up will be beneficial. Remember to remove from the pet’s living area things like cleaning supplies, trash, plants, shoes, etc. that put the pet or the item at risk.You wouldn’t want them chewing on something that can be life-threatening! Be aware that pets may damage carpet, floors, walls, etc., so learning their behavior and guiding them to the behavior you would like is a must. You may also want to consider having a crate to contain them when you can’t have eyes on them, especially for dogs.

What is the best food to feed? This is a tough question. It’s a matter of personal preference and what works best for your pet. Just like with our food, there are many different options and opinions. This will take some research and being open to change if necessary. You can feed them kibble, wet food, freeze-dried food, cooked food, and/or raw food. Whatever food you choose, pay close attention to how your pet responds to it. Don’t be afraid to mix up your pet’s food a little. Just like us, our pet may get tired of eating the same food every day and it may eventually start causing issues. If they are experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, hot spots, or many other unexplained symptoms, you may want to consider gettingintolerance testing for your pet so that you know if food or environmental changes are necessary to help relieve discomfort.

How to be prepared in case of emergency: Just like with us, anything can happen. Before adopting, consider how you will handle unexpected emergency costs such as treatment for injuries and diseases or surgeries. You may want to price pet insurance. Hopefully, only routine vet visits will be needed.

Considering these six basic things before adopting a pet can save you time and money and give you peace of mind. Adopting a pet is a huge responsibility and can be a wonderful experience. Take your time and be prepared to provide a great life for your adopted pet. And, enjoy the great life that your new pet will bring to you!

Which of these were unexpected before you adopted? What other tips do you have to help prepare for pet adoption? Share your story in the comments.