|Increasing numbers of dogs and cats are being diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, which in most cases in both species is due to a relative lack of insulin production in the pet. This can have many causes from dietary to secondary complications from diseases like pancreatitis, hormonal diseases like Cushing’s disease, or genetic in origin. Once a diagnosis of diabetes is made by documenting both high blood and urine sugar, most pets are usually started on one of the many available types of insulin.|
However, after teaching animal guardians about insulin injections, there is far more that needs to be done over a long period of time to try and insure optimal health for their diabetic animal companions. For many years veterinarians have relied on measuring blood sugar levels throughout the day after AM insulin injection at the animal hospital, initially quite frequently after the diagnosis in the coming weeks and months. Usually a 12 to 24 hour sugar curve is generated and recommendations for insulin dosage adjustments are made.
In recent years a blood fructosamine test was made available which is a single blood measurement which allows veterinarians to assess the average blood sugar for the previous 3 weeks. However, both of these techniques have several shortcomings, including not accounting for the daily fluctuation in blood sugar levels. Especially in a veterinary hospital environment many factors from dietary inconsistency to emotional stress can affect the accuracy of these sugar curves. Over the past year or so more and more animal guardians are now purchasing blood sugar devices for at-home monitoring of blood sugars to allow for more accurate management of their pets and adjustments of dosages by the veterinarian.
Veterinarians can teach clients to get a drop of blood from various capillary sites on the body from the ears to the oral mucous membranes to areas on the pads to measure blood sugar levels at home. With these newer technologies, sugar levels are better able to be monitored and diabetic complications such as cataracts, neurological issues and secondary infections can be minimized and/or better managed over time.
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