Glycosylated Hemoglobin Level in Dogs


Diabetes is a relatively common disease that involves impaired handling and utilization of glucose (“sugar”). Insulin is used to treat this condition. Periodic blood glucose tests are necessary to determine if the correct does of insulin. Finding the correct dose of insulin is difficult in some dogs.

Glycosylated hemoglobin is found when high levels of glucose are found in the blood as glucose binds to the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Measuring glycosylated hemoglobin allows a veterinarian to get an idea of what a dog’s blood glucose levels have been over the course of several days prior to testing.

This test is particularly useful when the accuracy of a single blood sugar test is uncertain. For example, some dogs tend to become stressed in a veterinary clinic setting and their blood glucose levels will be artifactually high. This makes monitoring response to treatment difficult. Evaluating the glycosylated hemoglobin level can help determine if the insulin dose is appropriate.

There are no contraindications to performing this test in a diabetic dog.

What Does a Glycosylated Hemoglobin Level Reveal in Dogs?

The glycosylated hemoglobin level is the concentration of glycosylated hemoglobin circulating in the blood. The amount present helps to determine if the correct dose of insulin is being employed.

How Is a Glycosylated Hemoglobin Level Done in Dogs?

In order to check the glycosylated hemoglobin level, your veterinarian will have to draw a blood sample, which is placed in a special glass tube. The blood sample is combined with a product that prevents the blood in the tube from clotting. The blood sample is then submitted to a laboratory, most often, an outside laboratory for evaluation. Test results are usually available in one to two days.

Is a Glycosylated Hemoglobin Level Painful to Dogs?

The only pain involved is associated with the collection of the blood sample. The pain experienced as a result of venipuncture varies from individual to individual.

Is Sedation or Anesthesia Needed for a Glycosylated Hemoglobin Level?

Neither sedation nor anesthesia is needed in most patients; however, some dogs resent needle sticks so mild tranquilization may be necessary.