Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Treat Diabetes in Dogs and Cats

Veterinary Centers of America has compiled some of the best Diabetes Mellitus related information for treating dogs and cats available. Below Dr. Tina Conway gives a short overview. For more detailed information go to:

Administering insulin and monitoring the blood sugar level of your diabetic pet 

Tina S. Conway, DVM, MA, DACVIM (SAIM)

Just like in humans, diabetes in cats or dogs comes from abnormally high blood sugar or a failure for that pet to regulate their own insulin levels. Fortunately, treatments are advanced, and even easy, for diabetic pets and their owners!

Insulin therapy is the cornerstone of therapy. But it’s important that you know how to properly handle, store, and administer insulin to your pet. But if you have more questions, or want to meet with one of our professionals in person, contact VCA-VRA today.

Knowing How to Monitor Your Pet’s Blood Sugar

The goal of blood sugar monitoring is to establish a better idea of your pet’s blood sugar levels. You should aim to figure out how to decrease the symptoms of diabetes and minimize the risks of complications from insulin therapy. Ultimately, no two pets are the same when it comes to insulin levels, so you should try to figure out what your pet responds to in the most positive way.

Blood sugar should be checked at set times during the day (i.e. right before meals) and/or periodically a few times a day in order to establish your pet’s glucose curve. Both options play a role in monitoring the insulin levels of your pet. The fasting blood sugar level before a meal helps us to know if the diabetic pet is ready to receive its next dose of insulin. The blood sugar curve helps us to understand the action of insulin throughout the day. From this information, your veterinarian will help determine if the current dose and type of insulin are just right for your pet or if they might benefit from an adjustment.

Where Should you Test your Pet’s Insulin?

Insulin testing can be performed at either your home or at a veterinary hospital. In the past, all monitoring was done at the hospital, but it may not be the best choice for your pet. Frequent trips to the vet can put a lot of stress on to your dog or cat, so often pet owners choose to administer home testing.

How to use Home Monitoring Devices for your Diabetic Pets

Blood sugar monitoring in the home has significant advantages of less stress to the diabetic pets, no need to travel, and they may be more willing to eat according to their normal routine and schedule. The cost of home monitoring is significantly less than monitoring in a veterinary hospital setting.

Home Monitoring can be performed using a portable blood glucose meter. Many meters for human diabetics are available over the counter at pharmacies can be used for dogs. In our clinic, however, we prefer you use the AlphaTRAK glucometer by Abbott because:
  • It has been calibrated specifically for pets
  • It only requires four simple steps
  • Only a very small amount of blood is needed (.0.3 microliters)
  • It is quick—results only take 15 seconds
  • It can detect accurate blood sugar readings up to 750 mg/dL
  • The technical support from the manufacturer is very reliable and prompt
To learn more, schedule an appointment with VCA-VRA today!

Here is a video with instructions on how to use the AlphaTRAK monitor.

1 comment:

  1. Woah, very important information and this stuff is not found very much online. Great details and specific instructions. Thank you!
    Veterinarian Hospital in Bucks County