Blood Glucose Level Management is Not Easy
When living with a diabetic pet, controlling their blood glucose levels can be a bit of frustrating balancing act. Finding the proper insulin dosage with your veterinarian is very important. You should never adjust the insulin dosage without consulting with your veterinarian first. Make sure that they are on board with the course of treatment.
Home Glucose Monitoring Can Help Achieve Safe and Effective Management
Home glucose monitoring has become very popular among pet parents over the last several years. This helps to keep your pet safe when your vet isn’t in the office. If you’re anything like myself, emergencies always happen after hours or during the weekend. Being able to check your pet’s glucose levels not only gives you control of the situation, but also gives you a peace of mind.
It Helps Prevent/Prepare for High or Low Sugar Emergencies
There are many issues when it comes to diabetes. Being prepared for these events is the most important thing. If your pet’s glucose level drops too low, your pet may show signs of confusion, weakness, seizures, loss of consciousness and in extreme cases, death. This is always a medical emergency and requires an immediate veterinary visit. When your pet’s glucose level is too high, they will often drink and urinate more than usual. It has the potential to develop into a fatal, and expensive, condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This is also an emergency and requires immediate veterinary intervention.
It Helps Find Balance with Less Stress for Your Pet
Be patient. It takes time to arrive at the “just right” insulin dosage. Some take weeks, others months. This will require at home blood glucose monitoring compared to in-person veterinary visits where pets would typically spend the day at the clinic. During that time, the veterinary staff would check blood glucose levels every 2 hours for up to a 12-hour period. There are some flaws with in-clinic glucose testing results. Some pets, especially cats, become extremely stressed while in this setting. This can cause their glucose levels to be extremely high. This is called stress hyperglycemia. This could give your veterinarian false readings of high glucose levels.
The Experts Recommend At-Home Glucose Monitoring
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends at-home glucose monitoring when possible. Animals are much less stressed at home, which means the results will be more accurate. Home glucose monitoring can also help you identify a hypoglycemic event. In effect, this helps you avoid a potentially life-threatening event from occurring.
While home blood glucose testing may not be right for every diabetic pet owner, most find the process extremely simple to do.
Use Blood Glucose Meter Specifically Calibrated for Dogs/Cats
Now, the most important question of all. Is a pet meter necessary? The answer is YES! The reason behind why is that human meters do not deliver accurate readings for pets. The cause of this is due to the difference between the distribution of glucose in the blood of humans and animals.
- Humans: 58% of the glucose is located in plasma and 42% of the glucose in the red blood cells
- Dogs: 87.5% of the glucose is located in the plasma and 12.5% of the glucose is located in the red blood cells
- Cats: 93% of the glucose is located in plasma and only 7% of the glucose in the red blood cells.
For more accurate results, thus safe and effective diabetes management, use blood glucose meters calibrated for dogs and cats
Message from the author, Amber Cowger (@pumpkins_purpose)
Hey everyone! My name is Amber. I have been in Veterinary Medicine for nearly 10 years and am a huge diabetes advocate. This guy that I am holding, his name is Pumpkin, AKA Punk. He has been diabetic for 10 years. We are so glad to be here and able to share all the knowledge we’ve learned along the way of his journey. I will never pass up on the opportunity to educate and show that diabetes is not a death sentence!
– Diabetes management guidelines for dogs and CATS (2018) AAHA. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2021, from https://www.aaha.org/aaha-guidelines/diabetes-management/diabetes-management-home/
– Mackay E.M. The distribution of glucose in human blood. J Biological Chem. 1932; 97:685-689.
– Coldman M.F. and Good W. The distribution of sodium, potassium and glucose in the blood of some mammals. Comp Biochem Physiol. 1967; 21(1):201-206