Questions from the diabetic pet owner are the fuel I use to keep myself educated on all things related to pet diabetes. I’ve had some incredible questions asked of me over the years, and quite a few that have made me do some research so I could understand it and then make it easy to understand for all of the diabetic pet owners that I encounter. Maybe this one can help you! Todays question is about checking your pets glucose curve and monitoring your pets diabetes.
Dr. Sutton, I am a little nervous about monitoring my furbaby’s diabetes. We just found out this past September that he is diabetic. We have him on insulin and he seems to be doing well at the level we are providing. I know treatment and monitoring thus far at my vet has been somewhat expensive and the pet starter kit seems very reasonable. How often do I need to check his levels? I am trying to determine if I should purchase more strips right away. Can the strips be purchased in retail stores or only by internet in case I choose to wait?
How often to check a curve depends on how easy or difficult it is to regulate your pet. We typically run curves about once a week until we get a pet regulated. Clearly we check curves more often when a pet is first diagnosed than once we think we have the right insulin dose. Thereafter, you’ll want to run a curve at least every 3 or 4 months, and for sure a week after anytime you change an insulin dose. Some folks have difficult-to-regulate pets or are doing tight diabetes control and check their pet’s insulin before each injection of insulin. Those folks go through strips like gangbusters.
I doubt you can get strips for a pet glucose meter at a retail store. Even though you can’t run over to the local pharmacy for pet strips, I do advise sticking to a pet blood glucose monitor rather than using a human meter. Yes, there are lots of folks who use human meters on their pets. I hear this often. Nonetheless, human glucose meters tend to underestimate the pet’s blood glucose. The amount of blood in the red blood cells versus the plasma differs from species to species. If you are going through the effort of checking blood glucose, why not use a pet meter to get the most accurate results you can!
I’m glad you are getting a meter. You don’t just save money during curves, you have the ability to know what your pet’s blood glucose is instantly. If you know your pet’s blood glucose in real time you can adjust insulin dosages. You can identify low blood glucose if your pet is acting unusual. A home glucose meter gives you the power to be in control of the diabetes. And blood glucose checks at home are more accurate as there is no stress hyperglycemia on your couch! Many pets get anxious at the vet clinic, anxious enough to affect the blood glucose. This can then result in your vet thinking your pet needs more insulin than the pet really needs.
I’ve written articles in the past on how to check a blood glucose from your pet. A few pointers to get you started can make it much easier for you and your pet.
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Have a question or comment? Then post below! I always enjoy hearing from my readers!
NOTE: Consult your veterinarian first to make sure my recommendations fit your pets special health needs.