Managing Your Cat or Dog's Diabetes Care

Monitoring Blood Glucose at Home

Home glucose monitoring has been used by human diabetics for decades, and it is now available to pet owners. At-home blood glucose monitoring allows more accurate insulin treatment and therefore more consistent control of blood glucose. In cats, at-home monitoring has resulted in higher remission rates, and it has resulted in significant reduction in short- and long-term diabetic complications due to low or high blood sugar levels in both dogs and cats.

Checking blood sugar at home is simple — you just need a device and proper instruction. Since there is only one device that has been specifically calibrated for dogs and cats, your veterinarian will likely have a short recommendation list on which one to use! The process is simple. The skin is pierced with a tiny lancet and a small drop of blood is gathered onto a testing strip. This strip will provide a blood glucose measurement within seconds. Again, these videos may be helpful:

Your vet will tell you how frequently to check your pet's blood glucose. When diabetes has first been diagnosed or there is a change in insulin dosage, you will likely be performing more frequent checks throughout the day. All information obtained from at-home monitoring should be recorded to be shared with your vet.

Keep a Journal

With at-home care, you will be collecting valuable information every day about your pet that will help you and your veterinarian control your pet’s diabetes most successfully. At-home care minimizes the risks of hypoglycemia and helps prevent costly complications of diabetes that often result in hospitalization.

It is important to keep a daily journal. Include the following notes:

  • All meals and treats
  • All blood glucose and/or urine glucose and ketone measurements
  • Insulin dosage and injections
  • Appetite
  • Any abnormal signs — behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
  • Daily comments

Depending on how well your pet’s diabetes is controlled, these results may be passed on immediately or shared at the next regularly scheduled checkup with your vet. Ask your vet about the best way and how frequently to share this information to benefit your pet.
And remember: At-home care and monitoring do not replace regularly scheduled veterinary appointments. You should still plan on bringing your diabetic pet in every three to four months to be evaluated.

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