Owners of diabetic dogs know how important it is to monitor their dog's glucose levels. The most common way to check on sugar levels is to have the dog undergo frequent checkups with the veterinarian. This often involves prolonged hospital stays for blood glucose curves, which might cause significant stress in the dog. The use of glucose monitoring systems, known as glucometers, might be the ultimate solution for testing dogs in the comfort of their home.
Glucometers are in home sugar-monitoring devices used to monitor diabetes. In order to provide accurate glucose readings, the device generally requires additional items such as lancets and test strips. Lancets are used to pierce the dog's skin, and the test strips are used to absorb the blood. The device will then test the blood sample and deliver immediate results. It always is best to consult with a vet in order to choose a reliable glucose-testing device capable of delivering accurate results.
There are many glucometers on the market that some people use on their dogs even though these devices were really specifically designed for use in humans. There are, however, a few brands of blood-glucose monitors on the market specifically calibrated for the unique properties of a pet's blood. One of the most commonly used glucometers in veterinary practice is the Alpha Trak by Abbott, says Kristen Nelson, a veterinarian who cares for pets in Scottsdale, Arizona, in her blog ''Dr. Nelson's Veterinary Blog.''
One of the main benefits of using glucometers at home is that they are capable of providing more realistic readings than those done from a hospital setting. Indeed, blood glucose curves done at a hospital often offer a stressful and unnatural environment for most dogs, which will likely have a negative impact on the glucose readings. These in-hospital results are then used to determine the ideal insulin dosage the pet will go home on, with the end result of the insulin requirements changing over time, says Diane Monsein Levitan, a practicing veterinarian founder of the Mobile Veterinary Ultrasound & Endoscopy in New York, in an article on DVM360.
Upon purchasing a glucometer, it is strongly advisable to test it for accuracy. In order to this, enough blood must be drawn from the dog so to perform a blood glucose curve at home and a blood test from the veterinary hospital. These test results should then be compared and interpreted by the veterinarian. It is best to perform these functionality tests against a reliable machine at least every six months, recommends Kristen Nelson.
Owners who decide to invest in a glucometer for home testing will save their dogs from stressful trips to the vet and save money in the long run, but it is important to remembe, that this testing method should not be used as the sole method of evaluation. A veterinarian still should be consulted on treatment options, and the home blood glucose monitoring results should be reported on a regular basis, warns veterinarian Diane Monsein Levitan.