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Monitoring Blood Glucose at Home (Home Monitoring)

By now you should know that monitoring your diabetic pet's blood glucose is important in managing your pet's diabetes. According to the 2010 American Animal Hospital Association Diabetes Management Guidelines, "home monitoring of blood glucose is ideal and strongly encouraged."

Home monitoring:

  • Is convenient
  • Reduces stress
  • Is easy to do
  • Provides your veterinarian with data to help assess the diabetes treatment plan.

Watch this video for a pet owner's testimonial on the AlphaTRAK.

Note: The health information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace a discussion with a veterinarian. All decisions regarding patient care must be made with a veterinarian and unique characteristics of each patient should be considered.

The best site to get a blood sample depends on each individual pet:

 

On cats and dogs: marginal ear vein or the side of the paw pad.

 

On dogs only: the elbow callus, or, if your dog does not have a tendency to bite, the inner lip.

 

Ask your veterinarian to help select the site that works best. You can also see the sampling sites by watching this video.

Once you select the testing site on your pet, follow the easy steps below to complete a test. If you prefer to see a test being done, click here to watch a demo.

  Step 1: Gather all the supplies needed to perform a test.
Step 2: Insert a new lancet into a lancing device, push until it comes to a complete stop, and replace the clear cover.
  Adjust lancing device depth by rotating the wheel: 1 is the shallowest, 4 is the deepest.
Step 3: Turn the meter on by inserting a test strip with the butterfly on the test strip facing up and flying into the meter. Confirm that the code on the meter matches the species code on the test strip vial.
  Step 4: Get a small blood drop from the selected sample area.
  Step 5: Touch only one side of the test strip to the blood drop. You will hear a beep and see the lines moving on the meter display.
  Step 6: Results appear in seconds.

Getting A Blood Sample Tips & Tricks
(Also Referred To As Capillary Sampling)

 

To ensure consistent results, try to use the same testing site each time. If the testing site gets irritated or if you are having a hard time collecting a sample, use an alternate site. It is good to know at least two sample sites that work best on your pet.

Before starting a test, pick a well-lit place where both you and your pet are comfortable, take kit components out of the case, and check the test strip expiration date.

When you first start testing your pet, it may help to get it used to the sound of the lancing device. Try holding the device close to its ear and press the button before performing the test.

If you choose the marginal ear vein as the testing site, it may help to use a flash light to see the vein better.

If you choose the paw pad as the testing site, select an area on the side of the paw that your pet does not step on.

To get the blood flowing, warm the sample site by gently rubbing, applying a warm cloth or a warm bag or sock filled with rice. To warm the bag, place it in the microwave for 20 seconds.

To help the blood form into a droplet, before lancing, apply a very thin layer of petroleum jelly to sample site area.

Only touch one side of the test strip to the blood drop for each test. If your blood drop was too small, you may add more blood to the same test strip for up to 60 seconds. Make sure you add blood to the same side of the test strip.

If you are having trouble getting a blood sample, try applying gentle pressure to the test site with the lancing device or changing the lancing device penetration.

Once the test is complete, apply gentle pressure to the test site with gauze or a cotton ball/wool to stop the bleeding, if needed.

You may want to give your pet a diabetes-friendly reward after you are done with the test.

 

Watch this video to see how easy it is to get a blood sample.