Home Monitoring of the Diabetic Cat with a Glucometer


Where Do You Get Blood On a Cat?

Getting blood on a cat can be challenging. The procedure for obtaining the blood, getting the blood on the test strip and using the machine is the same. What is different is where you get the blood sample. In cats – the veins on the ears work well.

The glucometers are fairly simple to use once you get the hang of it. To use, insert a dipstick in the meter, turn it on (some meters will turn on when you insert the stick), puncture your pet to obtain the blood sample, and touch the dipstick to the drop of blood that begins to form and the glucometer will analyze the sample.

Some websites suggest that you over-clip a nail to obtain a blood sample. This is not recommended unless you are in an emergency situation as it is typically more painful for your cat than the other sites.

How Do You Perform a Blood Glucose Check?

Assemble your supplies in an area with good lighting. This includes the glucometer, test strip, Vaseline, lancet, tissue and any treat you may want to give after the test.

Prepare the meter by inserting the test strip.

Identify the area you want to use. If you are using the ear , you may dab a little Vaseline on the area you plan to use. The Vaseline helps soothe the ear and encourages the blood to bead which makes it easier to obtain the sample.

Tell your kitty gently that he or she is a good cat!

Hold your cat in a manner that will allow you to get the sample, if possible you may want to have a helper for the first few glucose checks until you are more comfortable with the procedure. Stick the ear vein with the lancet or needle and allow for a small drop of blood to form.

Pick up the meter into which the test strip has already been inserted, and hold it next to the bead of blood. Allow the test strip to wick up the blood. Generally the machine will beep telling you the test is in progress.

Occasionally a nice bead of blood doesn't form. This can be because you didn't insert the lancet or needle deep enough in the tissue to cause bleeding. In this case you can sometimes “milk” the area – applying pressure around the lanced tissue to push blood toward the prick. This can sometimes encourage a bead of blood to form, which can then be analyzed. Sometimes you have to redo the prick.

When Do You Perform a Blood Glucose Check

A spot check should be done any time a pet looks weak or is having symptoms of diabetes such as those described above. Weakness, trouble walking can be symptoms of a low blood glucose. For more information go to Hypoglycemia in Cats. Emergency treatment starts with rubbing some Karo® syrup on your cats gums.

For information about symptoms of diabetes – go to Diabetes Mellitus in Cats.

A glucose curve should be routinely done approximately one week after any change in dosage of insulin.

What Does a Glucose Curve Reveal?

Glucose levels are constantly fluctuating, depending on diet, exercise, underlying illness, and the pet's individual glucose requirements. A glucose curve will reveal at what time the cat's glucose level is the highest (also referred to at the peak) and when it is lowest (also referred to as the trough) relative to diet and insulin administration. A glucose curve will also help your veterinarian determine if your pet is receiving the proper type and dose of insulin. If the glucose levels always register too high or too low throughout the curve, the insulin needs to be adjusted.

How is a Blood Glucose Curve Done at Home

A small blood sample is drawn every 2 hours and the sugar level is determined. This information is recorded for 12 hours. If the blood glucose falls below 150 mg/dl at any time, the frequency of sampling the blood glucose should increase to every hour.

You can create a simple chart to record the results such as below:


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