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Pet Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Program
by Defeat Diabetes Foundation
Testing and Supplies
Only your veterinarian can diagnose diabetes and provide appropriate preventive and management programs for your pet.
Your veterinarian may begin by performing a general health examination and asking questions about any signs your pet may be displaying. Then, a sample of your petís urine will be tested for the presence of glucose (a type of sugar) or ketones (acids produced by the body as it breaks down fat instead of glucose for energy). If glucose is present in your petís urine, your veterinarian will then test your petís blood to determine the blood glucose level. A diabetes diagnosis is considered definite when persistently high glucose levels are found in both the blood and urine.
Diabetes is a relatively easy disease to diagnose. Fasting blood sugar in dogs and cats should be between 75 and 120mg/deciliter. When the non-fasting level is over 200mg/deciliter and other blood parameters are normal, diabetes may be the cause.
Once your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes you will need to monitor your pet at home daily.
Urine Glucose Testing
Many vets recommend urine glucose testing as a method of monitoring your pet's diabetes at home. It is simple and inexpensive. But, it has some serious limitations that must be understood and taken into consideration.
The level of glucose in the urine is not the same as the level of glucose in the blood. The urine level is just a reflection of how high the blood glucose was, and how long it was above the renal threshold (the point where glucose spills into the urine). There will always be a difference between what shows up in the urine and what was actually in the blood, and the urine glucose levels will always lag behind the blood glucose levels.
Home blood glucose monitoring is a useful tool to help you and your veterinarian stabilize your petís diabetes. It can be used to determine how well the current type and dose of insulin is controlling the diabetes. This determination is best done under typical daily conditions where the petís feeding, exercise and stress levels are normal. One common problem with doing glucose testing in the vetís office is that many pets, especially cats, become severely stressed, refuse to eat, are confined to a cage for long periods of time, then restrained for a blood test. These are not normal conditions and the glucose values obtained at the vetís office may not accurately reflect the blood glucose levels on a typical day.
Where to Prick Your Pet
Dogs and Cats
Clipping a claw too short in order to get blood is not recommended. This is very painful for the pet and cannot be used on a regular basis.
Ear pricks usually do not work on a dog because they don't have the prominent marginal vein that cats do. Most dog owners who perform home blood glucose testing prick the inside of the upper lip. Have your dog lay on its side and gently lift the upper lip and roll it outward so you can work on the inside surface. The area near the canine tooth is often a good spot. Wipe the area with a clean cloth so that all saliva is removed. Pricking towards the edge of the lip often works well. You will have to figure out the spot that works best for your dog. Dog owners who use the lip prick technique report it is very easy, and it does not hurt the dog. Some even do it while the dog is sleeping. Be careful that your dog will allow you to do this and you don't get bitten. Some owners report success pricking the outside of the lip.
The edge of the ear or a paw pad work well. You will have to determine the best site for your cat. Some cats dislike having their paws touched, while others hate having their ears played with. Drawing blood from a front paw vein is very difficult. Unless you have a very cooperative cat, this method is not recommended You only need one drop of blood, and one of the prick methods usually works well.
For the ear prick, there is a small blood vessel that runs around the outer edge of the catís ear. To locate the blood vessel, hold a flashlight (or sit near a bright lamp) with the light shining into the inside of the ear. Look on the back (furry side) of the ear. You should see a thin red line - this is the blood vessel that you will prick.
If you are pricking a cat's ear, it must be warm. It is very hard to get a drop of blood from a cold, or even cool, ear. Warm the ear by massaging your cat's head and ears, use a warm washcloth inside a plastic bag, or a rice bag you can heat in the microwave. Whatever you use, make sure it will not burn your pet.
Your vet will help you interpret the bg numbers and decide if any changes are needed in your pet's insulin dose, insulin type, or other aspects of the daily care routine.
Pet Diabetes Supplies
Managing your pets diabetes will be easier if you store all of the supplies and professional contacts in one place.
Your petís diabetes care kit should include:
Phone number of your vet and phone number of an animal hospital that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergencies.
In addition to the items in the care kit, the veterinarian may suggest that you use specially formulated food for your pet.
Also, consider attaching a medical alert tag to your dog's or cat's collar that lets others know that your pet takes insulin for diabetes.
If you travel, identify one or two kennels with staff that are experienced in caring for diabetic pets. Your veterinarian may also be willing to board your pet if there are no adequately trained kennels in your area.
Where you can get a full range of pet diabetes supplies:
American Diabetes Wholesale
You may be able to find pet diabetes supplies at your local pharmacy and other online sites.
We hope the following information will help you to prevent diabetes, diagnose diabetes or take care of your pet that may have diabetes:
The information presented in this website is not intended to replace the services of a health practitioner licensed in the diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease. Any application of the material herein is at the reader's discretion and sole responsibility. If your pet has a persistent medical condition or the symptoms are severe, please consult a veterinarian.
American Diabetes Wholesale
Updated June 5, 2013
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Defeat Diabetes Foundation