I love getting emails from our readers. Sometimes they are so good I share them. Let’s jump right into three recent email interactions I’ve had as you may have had similar questions yourself.

I’ve been using the glucose log book that came with my glucose meter starter kit, but it is now full. How do you suggest I keep track of my pet’s blood glucose curves now?

Answer: This is a great question! Each pet owner and veterinarian contemplates information differently. Some folks connect the dots on a graph and actually look at a blood glucose curve. I don’t do that but look at the numbers (particularly about how long the insulin lasts and how low the blood glucose drops in that pet). For technically minded people Merck (the makers of Vetsulin) have a free app for smart phones and tablets called “Pet Diabetes Tracker” that is pretty neat. ADW and I designed a pet log book a few years ago that I obviously like. In the book we have places to keep track of the pet’s weight and record other health related comments that might help your veterinarian look back over time to assess your pet’s glucose regulation. Or, you can simply make a photocopy of an empty page from the log book that came with your blood glucose meter. Finally, there is nothing wrong with going old school and writing it on a piece of paper!

My dog is not spayed and recently was diagnosed with diabetes. My veterinarian told me I should have her spayed. Can you explain why?

Answer: Your vet gave you very good advice! When a pet is in heat she is under the influence of the hormone, progesterone. Progesterone is a potent cause of insulin resistance. This is why diabetic women have a harder time regulating their diabetes when they are pregnant. When the pet is in heat and the progesterone levels are high, she will need more insulin. When she goes out of heat her insulin needs will drop and if you are not closely monitoring her blood glucose, so that you can appropriately lower the insulin dose, she could become hypoglycemic. When dogs go into heat it may last one week or several weeks. As soon as she is stable, meaning not a sick diabetic, get her spayed. Until she is spayed, it may be extremely difficult to get her regulated.

I have a diabetic cat. The directions with the blood glucose meter that we use says to only use the lancet one time. There are times when I am not able to get a blood sample with the first attempt and have to try again a few times. Is there any issue with re-using the lancet?

Answer: So long as you are doing it at one blood glucose check I have no issue at all re-using the lancet a time or 2 within a couple of minutes. If you were to wait an hour and re-use the lancet you could get an inaccurate reading because there could be some dried blood from a prior sampling on the lancet. Additionally, if you use it several times, even for just a single sample, the point will dull and could hurt your pet.

Have you tried my uncooked rice in a sock trick? Put some uncooked rice, or beans, in a sock and tie a knot it in. Put it in the microwave for a few seconds until it is nice and warm. Hold the warm sock against the collection site for half a minute before using the lancet. The warmth will cause local vasodilation of the blood vessels. This should make blood collection much easier!

Have a question or comment? Post below or email me at joi.suttondvm@adwdiabetes.com. I always enjoy hearing from my readers!


NOTE: Consult your veterinarian first to make sure my recommendations fit your pets special health needs.

Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr. Joi Sutton is a 1993 graduate from Oregon State University. She has practiced both in emergency medicine and general practice. Dr. Sutton has done extensive international volunteer work though Veterinary Ventures, a nonprofit organization that takes teams of veterinarians to undeveloped countries for humane medical care. She also runs a small animal practice in South Florida.
Dr . Joi Sutton