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anyone do home glucose testing for their cat?

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  • anyone do home glucose testing for their cat?

    Our cat suffered from hypoglycemia last weekend - she survived, but it was terrifying. Does anyone do home testing - kit recommendations? We're looking at the alpa trak 2 home testing kit. Do cats get used to the ear prick? Do you find it to be accurate? Our vet recommended the home kit because the cat gets stressed in the car & we believe we're getting higher readings due to anxiety. Opinions welcome

  • #2
    Ear pricks are great and easy. Just make sure you follow your vets recommendations to a TEE and not pay with insulin on your own based on the readings.

    We have seen so many pets come in hypogycemic because the owners got a high gucose and decided to increase the insulin.

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    • #3
      The alpha trak is nice because it only needs a very small amount of blood. You can also prick a paw pad to get a sample, which seems to be better tolerated.

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      • #4
        Not a vet and not a cat owner but I do have a diabetic beagle. We use a One Touch Ultra. I will say one of the drawbacks is you will get a error reading if the blood sample is not big enough, so maybe a unit designed for an animal is best for a cat.

        We tried the ear and paw prick and found they yielded a big fight from our beagle. We finally found that the calloused area on either elbow get a nice bead and the beagle doesn;t seem to care. You can also get a nice bead from a gum prick but you need to take the extra step of drying the area with a paper towel first. Good luck
        Seth Parker- Farrier for Palm Beach & Broward, FL
        www.ParkerFarrierService.com

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        • #5
          I worked as a tech in an all-cat practice for a short while, and ear-prick glucose testing is SUPER easy. The cats definitely get used to it, and once you get good at it it will be a very quick, non-event. But do work closely with your vet to determine appropriate insulin dosage, there are a lot of variables that can affect how much you should be giving.

          But don't be scared of the ear-prick, it's a piece of cake
          Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

          PONY'TUDE

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          • #6
            Dont forget for a full curve, you can always prick once and put vaseline on it. usually I can get 6-8 hourly readings from just one prick.

            We do hourly readings (we usually see the unregulated guys, not the regulated ones) and the cats much prefer this to being poked every hour.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              You lost me on the full curve...what does that show - levels over a period of time? She had seizure on Sunday & has been off insulin since. Vet kept her overnight & saw her again Tuesday & she has another appt tonight. After almost losing her, I'm very afraid to start her insulin again. That's why I'm thinking the home kit....she has been on insulin for almost 2 years now, but 1 scare like that & now I'm a hypochondriac!

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              • #8
                We use a onetouch ultra- my sister is diabetic and uses that so we have the supplies already! The meters themselves are not too pricey but the strips are expensive and I can only seem to find them in quantities of 50 or more at the drugstores, so if you don't use a lot of them it might not be very cost effective. Not sure of cost on meters specific for animals.

                Cat doesn't mind the ear prick at all- just make sure you hold on because she will probably try and shake/scratch the blood off after you prick, getting it all over and leaving you with not enough for a sample! One trick we use is putting a warm compress on the ear for a few minutes- otherwise we have trouble getting enough blood.

                A full curve is when you take a set number of readings over a day (our vet has us do 4) so you can see how the levels fluctuate over the day. So if the cat is always low first thing in the morning, it might need less insulin at night, etc.

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                • #9
                  I would suggest checking out the Feline Diabetes Message Board

                  Folks there will give you TONS of helpful advice, and there are links to things like dosing protocols for different insulins, feeding, and tons more. It saved my sanity

                  My cat is diabetic and I home test several times a day. Not to do so is very dangerous, though many vets don't seem to grasp that and teach their clients how! Nobody would ream of giving insulin blindly to a diabetic child, yet it's done with pets all the time.

                  Anyway, Most of us on the FDMB use human meters. The problem with the Alpha Trak is that test strips are not available at regular pharmacies, and they cost over $1 apiece, so just running a weekly curve costs about $8, and you should be testing at least three times daily. Insulin should never be given without testing first, any you should be getting at least one midcycle test every day as well...more until you determine how your cat utilizes insulin.

                  I order my supplies online through American Diabetes Wholesale. I use the Arkray Vital meter as it has the least expensive strips. The most popular one on the board is the Relion Micro from Walmart. 100 strips (about 10-12 days' worth for me, YMMV) for that meter cost $36. You want to be able to either order plenty of strips so you never run out (I get 250 auto-shipped every 30 days from ADW) or be able to run out and get them as if you have a hypo or near hypo, you will need to test every 20 minutes for a while and go through strips like water. Human meters do read a little lower than pet meters, but as long as you know the normal range on a human meter (50-120) vs. the pet meter (70-150), you're fine, because you know when to treat for a potential hypo.

                  Here's a link to the spreadsheet I keep for my cat. You can get an idea of how often I test...but one caveat-because I've been at it for months and have plenty of data, I'm able to follow a strict dosing protocol. I give insulin at glucose levels that are not recommended until you have plenty of data on your individual cat. Generally, you don't want to give insulin if your cat's BG is under 200 at first, until you know exactly how the insulin is working in his body via several curves.

                  Mikey's SS

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                  • #10
                    Also, with the hypo incident, your cat has "earned" a reduction in dose. If his numbers are still diabetic (likely), he needs insulin, but at a smaller dose. Without knowing what insulin you use or the current dose, I can't advise you further...but do go check out the FDMB, because you can get the protocol for your particular insulin and figure an appropriate dose. Many vets set the dose based on numbers they get in the office...and for many cats, the stress of a vet visit sengd their glucose levels skyrocketing, so the dose is based on an artificially inflated number. That's another reason why doing curves (testing every 2 hours for a 12-hour insulin cycle; some do every hour) at home is important...the dose is being based of a more accurate reading.

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                    • #11
                      Your cat is either in remission from diabetes, or is an unregulated diabetic. Curves at home are useless uness youdo it right. 4 readings a day is a waste of time. You need to do hourly, or every 2 hours to get an ACCURATE curve over a 12 hour period. THis may need to be repeated several times to see what is now actually going on.

                      Insuin at this point may kill your cat because shes no longer diabetic (which can happen!!) or has become unregulated where the same insulin dose might be too effective one day, and not enough another.Luckily, the first scenerio is far more common in cats!!

                      Time to chat with your vet.

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