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Last updated: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 16:45:44
It is now Mon, 19 Aug 2019 15:50:33

Collect the equipment for BG testing

OneTouch Ultra Meter, test strip vials

[c28598-otultracode.jpg] OneTouch Meter, lancet, test strip vials

The OneTouch Ultra and Ultra 2 are popular meters

My vet uses OneTouch Ultra meters to test blood glucose. I have a One Touch Ultra, as well as its successor, the OneTouch Ultra 2 meter. These glucometers, says LifeScan, the manufacturer, repeatedly, in my calls to Customer Care, are not recommended for use on animals. Well, heck; they are made to test humans, not animals!

This picture shows my OneTouch Ultra meter, which is also featured, with a real reading on it, delivered by Kumbi on 2 September, 2007, on the BSCorrectors page. (If you look there, you can use your browser's Back button to return here). The meter in the picture showing the test strip applied to the blood sample is the OneTouch Ultra 2 meter. It's a later model than this one. (If you look there now, you can return here by using your browser's Back button.)

Even though these meters are not recommended for use on animals, as I said, my vet uses the OneTouch Ultra meters, and so do many humans who keep dogs and cats who are diabetic. The readings we get from these meters aren't perfectly accurate, but, then, they have a margin for error anyway, of 20% either way!

We aren't looking necessarily for exact numbers, either. What we need to know is whether the blood glucose levels are running dangerously low, or dangerously high, and also, how the numbers vary through a twelve-or-twenty-four hour cycle, including feeding, insulin, exercise, and rest.

Blood glucose levels are affected by food, by insulin, including injected insulin, by exercise, and by stress. We need to keep these factors in mind.

A typical feeding and insulin-injecting schedule for a diabetic dog is to feed twice daily, and to give insulin about 30 minutes after feeding.

Insulin must be injected under the skin; it cannot be effectively administered otherwise. What fun, right? Well, it turns out to be not so bad, after all, because it's usually possible to give almost completely painless injections.

When you first get a glucometer, read through the manual, and experiment with the equipment, till you feel confident you're reasonably familiar with the meter. You can also prick yourself and do some practise-testing that way. Just follow the instructions in the manual.

And be aware that pricking yourself might hurt slightly, but pricking your dog at the "Lip-Stick" site shown here doesn't hurt the dog!

How do I know that? Well, Kumbi REALLY lets me know if something hurts at all!

Step One: Collect the Gear you need

To take a blood glucose reading, you need a glucometer (which I'm abbreviating as "meter" most of the time); you need at least one test strip of the same brand as the meter, and you need a lancet - the little thing you use to prick for a blood sample.

You should actually have a pretty good supply of test strips, as you are likely to waste a few in your first efforts. I try to have two strips available right handy when I take a reading, just in case I need that second strip because the first trial didn't go properly. Then I have more strips handy still in the vial of test strips.

If you're using the Lip-Stick, as illustrated here, sometimes, if your dog's mouth is a bit dry, it helps to dip your lip-lifting thumb into water before attempting to pick up the dog's lip. So you could add a tiny saucer of water to your collection..

I collect the stuff on a small tray, and carry it to Kumbi, who by this time, has often attempted to take shelter from the Procedure - yet he's very cooperative! Good boy, Kumbi!

Make sure you also have your records notebook and a pen right handy, so you can write down your reading as soon as it shows up on your meter.

Check-List for your BG Testing Tray

  1. glucometer
  2. test strips (one inserted just barely into the meter)
  3. lancets
  4. records notebook
  5. pen or pencil
  6. tiny saucer of water, if needed
  7. possibly something to blot with (gauze, paper towel)
  8. something to wipe or dry your hands on
  9. if desired, dog-treats (out of dog's reach, but within scent-range)

Review in your mind just where you will need to be reaching for what, while doing the job, so you have things handy. Particularly, you need a good place to lay the meter down while you use both hands in the pricking job; then to prop the meter while you pull the test strip into the meter when the blood drop is clearly welling up nicely.

After you've collected the stuff on the tray, check that your Dog-Testing-Pad is ready for the dog to stand, sit or lie down on, and that the dog is available.

Then wash your hands, add the dog to your collection, and you're ready to go.

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Animal Stars
CLAIMER: Content here results from my personal experience, as instructed by my fabulous veterinarians and veterinary technicians, and also, as instructed by Kumbi. Even Kwali gets a word in edgewise. We use the Lip-Stick. There are other locations you can prick for blood; I do not myself use them, but there are web resources that show them.
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