In order to enhance the control of your diabetic pet’s blood sugar, we recommend that you learn to test your pet’s blood sugar levels. The information that we can gain from this testing method can be invaluable in helping your pet cope with this condition. Most pets tolerate home blood testing with a minimum of resistance.
What are we measuring?
Diabetics tend to have blood sugar levels that are too high. We administer insulin to help bring those levels down. The testing strips and meters discussed below, check the actual amount of sugar in the blood at the time you take the test. Our goal is to bring the blood sugar down between 150 and 250 mg/ml for the better part of the day.
What you will need
- Accucheck Advantage glucose meter (available at most drug stores)
- Glucose Testing strips (available wherever the meters are sold)
- Blood testing Lancets (available wherever the meters are sold)
- Capillary tubes (available from our hospital)
- Gauze Squares
- A small flashlight
How to obtain a blood sample
The ear veins are a popular and simple site to obtain blood samples. There is a vein that runs along the outside edge of the ear that is easily punctured to obtain a blood sample. The best technique we have found is:
- Prepare your glucose meter by turning it on and making sure that the test strip code that is displayed on the screen matches the code number on the test strip bottle.
- Place a capillary tube on the table within easy reach of your cat
- Warm the ear by gently massaging it for a few minutes (your kitty will like this part)
- Place the gauze square on the top of the flashlight and shine the light through the ear. You should be able to see the vein around the edge of the ear
- Using a fresh lancet, poke the vein to get it to bleed. Since it is a small vein, only a small drop of blood will form, but this should be enough to run the sample
- Take the capillary tube and touch one open end to the blood drop and it will be sucked up into the tube. You need about 1/3rd inch of blood in the tube to do the test. If you can’t get enough blood from one poke, try another spot and add it to the same capillary tube
- Place the glucose test strip in the meter
- Place the capillary tube next to the test are of the strip and gently blow the blood onto the stick
- Wait until the machine gives you a reading and write it down on the graph.
Each type of insulin has a different time at which it begins to act after injection, as well as how long it will continue to work for your pet. Using this testing method, we can tell exactly how well we are doing in controlling the blood sugar in your pet. Generally, we will ask you to do a “glucose curve” once or twice a week to monitor your pets therapy.
To run a curve, do the following:
- Test your pet’s blood sugar in the morning before feeding or giving insulin
- Feed your pet the normal breakfast
- Administer the number of units of insulin that you have been instructed to use
- Measure the blood sugar 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 hours after the injection. Do not allow your pet to have access to food during the test (take up the food after breakfast).
- Chart the numbers that you get.
- Call the office with the results of the test and we will help guide you through any insulin adjustments. PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF INSULIN WITHOUT CONSULTING US.