Eye of doG (5 KB)

Last updated: Sun, 13 Jun 2010 06:29:51
It is now Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:52:12

Lance the lining of the mouth

Lancing the lining of the mouth

[cwi101-kulipstick1.jpg] Lancing the lining of the mouth

Hey! It's not the LIP I'm pricking!

I put Lipstick on Kumbi in this picture. Only on the picture. Not on him, really!

I wanted to show that it is absolutely not the lip itself I am pricking!

It's the lining of the mouth, between the lip and the gums. About halfway between works well, and the prick can be made anywhere from the illustrated spot to slightly nearer the back corner of the mouth, or farther forward, to somewhere over the canine tooth.

If the mouth is cold, I might massage

This picture shows a little darker area, which I've made artificially darker in the picture. That merely represents the approximate area that seems to work best for pricking, and suggests that I've brought a bit of blood there by massaging with my free thumb. In fact, the area won't have such a hard-edged look to it.

In the picture, I am placing the needle of the lancet. Once it's placed, I push, rather swiftly, but gently, to the full depth of the lancet needle. Then I withdraw the lancet and lay it down. Still holding the lip against the upper jaw, I wait and watch.

If it's hard to get blood, try 21-gauge lancets!

I had been using 25-gauge lancets, and finally, I changed to 21-gauge lancets. This made a world of difference to me and Kumbi; as I write this (15 May 2010), I almost always get a sufficient sample with a single prick. My vet approved of the change. Kumbi likes it too, as it greatly reduces the time required to get the sample. Also, it allows me to turn the meter on before I even prick, and the sample wells up fairly quickly, with no extra prodding from me. This also allows me to bypass the step I describe later, of pulling the strip into the meter while holding the lip up against the jaw.

If you can't find 21-gauge lancets right away, the information below might be useful.

Warming is more reliable than massage!

After some time, still occasionally having difficulty getting a good blood sample, I FINALLY learned to warm the intended prick-site. To do this, I made sure to have a dry, folded paper towel right handy. Then I wet another one with hot tap-water, check for temperature so I don't burn Kumbi. I wring the towel out a bit, and then tuck it along the gums, and fold the upper lip down over the quite-warm, wet, paper towel. I hold it there for about ten seconds.

Doing this produced much better results than did massaging the area. Dogs do vary a lot in how easily they bleed, so massaging might be sufficient for some dogs. And Kumbi bleeds more easily from one side than from the other. But I prefer to alternate sides, so as not to leave one side of his mouth full of a lot of holes, while the other still offers a (relatively) broad expanse of unholey lining!

So, these days, I usually warm my intended prick-site before pricking.

Once warmed, I first blot with a dry towel, and then prick.

I can tell fairly quickly if there will be enough blood in the sample. If it's welling up, I'll pick up the meter with its test strip barely inserted, and pull the strip all the way into the meter, to turn the meter on. Now I need only watch the meter display to see when it says "Apply blood," and then I can touch the test strip to the sample.

How to waste a whole lot of test strips!

I wasted 75 test strips on pricks that didn't deliver enough blood for a good reading. That's about seventy-five dollars I could not afford. Finally I realized that the lancets I was using, which had come with the meter, were too fine. So I used thicker lancets.

The lancets that came with the meter are intended for humans; they were 28-gauge. With gauge, the higher the number, the thinner the needle. I had some lancets that were 25-gauge, so I changed and used those instead. Success! And I still didn't hurt Kumbi! He didn't complain at all!

Waiting for the blood drop to well up

It's the wait that can be a bit hard for the dog, and for the human, too! But with a good prick, the blood should begin to well up quite soon. If it doesn't, I prick again, fairly close to the prick I've been waiting for. OneTouch Customer Care told me NOT to "milk" the prick site to make the blood come up, because doing so releases fluids from between the cells, and that can corrupt the reading for glucose.

Kumbi can get a little restless if I wait too long, so a second prick can be helpful. After all, his mouth might be feeling a bit dry by now, exposed to air that way. Also, I'm careful not to hold the lip too hard.

Holding too hard may also reduce the bleeding somewhat.

If Kumbi gets too restless, I let him go, rather than suffer the setback of making him miserable. If I stay relaxed, Kumbi stays quite relaxed, even though he Does Not Like Procedures.

I do not fight with my dog

Over the years with my dogs, I learned to give with the dog when the dog is uncomfortable. The results are wonderful. My dogs have learned to cooperate, for nail trims, grooming and - pricking for blood samples!

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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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