This article is part two in a series on Pet Glucose Monitoring at Home. To catch up, please read part one.
As a veterinarian I strongly encourage all pet owners with a diabetic pet to own a pet glucose meter. Blood glucose curves run at home are more accurate than those done outside your pet’s normal environment simply because spending a day in a vet clinic can cause a “stress hyperglycemia”.
Over the years, glucose meters have improved dramatically. The sample size required to properly test the blood glucose level of an animal has decreased significantly too. This means that a pet owner doesn’t need to pull blood with a syringe; a simple prick of the skin can yield adequate blood to get a blood glucose reading. Many newer glucose test strips are designed to draw the blood into the strip when applied directly to the droplet making the testing process easier and less stressful on both the pet and pet owner.
My experience working with animals has found that some pets react adversely to the noise of a lancing device, particularly if used next to the pet’s ear which is a preferred spot to obtain blood for glucose curves. Dog and cat ears have a vein that goes along the periphery of the ear flap. It is very easy to see in pets with short hair or light colored fur. If your pet is particularly fuzzy, you might ask your pet’s groomer to clip the fur short on your pet’s ear making the vein easier to locate. Other test site options include the accessory carpal pad, the side of a toe, or the tail base. The trick is to have an area with little fur that would wick away the drop of blood.
When performing a blood glucose test, do not wipe the site with alcohol as it will dilute and alter the sample of blood. Have your lancing device in your dominant hand while holding the pet’s ear with your non-dominant hand. Poke the pet right over the vein that travels the periphery of the ear. Gently squeeze or massage the area to encourage bleeding. Place the glucose test strip (already loaded in the glucose meter) right on the drop of blood. Once your device beeps you have achieved an adequate blood sample and the test strip can be pulled back. When testing your pet, you should never use the same lancet as that can lead to contamination and incorrect test results.
When done testing, write down the test results and share them with your veterinarian to evaluate. Together with your vet you can take control of your pet’s diabetes.
NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.