A diabetes diagnosis for your dog or cat may mean you will need to do at-home glucose monitoring. Glucose monitoring may mean performing difficult tests on your pets on a daily basis or multiple times a day. You will need to find the easiest way to check your pet's glucose levels so they can stay healthy and active life. Read on to learn more about monitoring your pet's diabetes at home and different ways to do it.
How Does Diabetes Affect Pets?
Diabetes affects animals similar to humans. The disease involves a lack of insulin production. When your pet doesn't have enough insulin to regulate blood glucose, they develop hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar.
Pet diabetes has two different types. Type I is similar to juvenile diabetes in humans and is often genetic. Type II diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes. Type II diabetes is often preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Some species are more prone to one kind over the other.
What Are Different Ways to Test Blood Glucose?
Measuring blood glucose is very difficult in pets because it often involves needle pricks or urine collections. Your pet may not understand why you must prick them or may shy away from urine collection devices. Therefore, some pets may be uncooperative during checks and shy away from being touched.
One of the more common ways to check blood glucose is with a needle prick in or around the footpads. Another common place to test, especially for cats, is in the ear. Some veterinarians also prefer to prick the elbow calluses because those areas are less sensitive. Your veterinarian may have other technology available that requires less skin pricking.
Another way to test for glucose levels is to check ketones in the urine. This method is usually less reliable than blood testing. However, it may be the only way to test a severely uncooperative pet or when blood testing is not possible.
Should You Use a Human Glucometer?
Veterinarians often recommend against using a human glucometer. It could produce an inaccurate result. Animals process blood sugar differently than humans, and the numbers are often higher. Veterinary glucometers perform better with smaller samples. However, you can use a human glucometer when you are in a pinch, but the inaccurate results may make medication or insulin dosing difficult.
Monitoring and managing your pet's glucose levels can help your pet live a long and healthy life. Your veterinarian's staff can help you get started on the best ways to test your pet's glucose levels. You may also need to feed your pet a special diet. Managing a chronic condition does take up a little time, but if all goes well, you should find a routine that works for you. Talk to a vet for more advice.