Blood   Testing

Here you will three methods written by  members on how they obtain blood from their pet for testing.
The first method is written by Hilary and is very useful in obtaining blood from a dog.  She uses the lip techinique.
The second method (Ear stick) is written by Kathy and is easier to do on a cat then a dog.
The third method is done above the tail on Daisy picture by picture. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
Always consult your vet, these methods are meant to assist owners in home testing.  Print them out
and take them to your vet for his advice.  Never adjust insulin doses without consulting your vet.

Lip Technique
            Ear sticks on a dog can be painful and unproductive.  If you are comfortable
            doing radial draws, it's a perfect solution as Brenda points out.  Big advantage
            of the draws is you can pull enough blood initially for a second reading if the
            first one seems odd.  Meters and readings can be quirky for several reasons.
            If you get a bizarre-seeming reading, you should always double-check.
            You can have your vet teach you how to do radial draws from a vein.

            But if you have a fairly agreeable dog, you might want to try the inner upper
            lip which is an excellent peripheral source and surprisingly painless to most
            dogs.  Lap hold small dogs or have large dogs lie on their side on the floor.
            Roll back upper lip and stick, closer to the lip edge then to the gum area.
            Use palm of lip-holding hand to block possible tongue licking away the blood
            drop.   It is preferable to manually stick instead of the clicking cap, but do
            whatever way that your dog prefers.  Wait a couple of seconds for spot of blood
            to appear.  Can pinch area to produce large enough blood drop.  This is
            especially easy when using the Glucometer Elite since you can have it right
            at hand to dipstick, but you can also transfer the drop by lift/scraping onto a
            small curette or blade.  This is how I teach most non-medical caretakers to
            obtain small samples.  Healing is rapid and optimal because of the tissue type.
            The chance of bloodrun or infection is minimal because of the protected site.
            Note:  If dog has been already lying on side for awhile resting, use lip closest
            to the floor where there will be some pooling.  Ceiling-facing lip will take
            longer to form drops, especially in a less fleshy dog.
            This may take some practice, but when it works for you, it's probably the easiest.
            For the first couple of times on untrusting dogs, at the exact moment of stick
            (quick and firm), blow quickly on dog's face to create sensory conflict--he/she
            won't even notice the stick.  After a time or two, both you and your dog will
            realize that it doesn't hurt.

Ear Stick
   These instructions were written by a member of the the E-Mail List.
   Kathy has a diabetic cat, named Ginger and this is how she tests her
   blood at home.  If you are not comfortable with home blood testing

             then let your vet do it.  For further instructions E-mail Kathy

           Kathy is not a veternarian or medical professional.  She is the owner of a
             diabetic cat.  This information is personal opinion only.  Your diabetic
             pet should be under the direct care and constant supervision of a
             veternarian.  Diabetes is much too complex for the average person
             to manage without expert medical guidance.

             Insulin dosage changes should be made cautiously and only with
             your veternarian's approval and supervision.  Errors in treatment can
             cause serious illness or death.

            Procedure for Home Testing of Blood Glucose using  a Glucometer Elite Meter
            and a Lancet Device -- Ear Sticks or Paw Sticks by Kathy .

           This procedure is long because it's very detailed, but it's really simple .
            You can practice on your own finger tip(that first stick is the most difficult);
            I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how little pain there is --just a tiny sting--
            from the small lancet and fast lancet device.

            Before you begin, you should read and fully understand the instruction manual
            for your blood glucose meter, test strips, lancet device, and lancets.  If this
            procedure differs from the instruction manual, always follow the instruction manual.

            Equipment and Supplies
            Glucometer Elite meter and test strips
            Penlet II lancet device or equivalent
            B-D ultra-fine lancets or equivalent
            Cotton Balls
            Small Flashlight

            I chose the Penlet II lancet device because it is relatively quiet and causes very
            little startle reaction in our cat Ginger.  Several other lancet devices may work
            equally well.  Ginger prefers the use of a lancet device to me holding the lancet
            manually and sticking the vein.  Some pets disagree, so try manual sticks too.

            Ear Sticks:

            I first wash my hands and warm them in hot water or with a small blue gel heat pack.
            I position the Glucometer Elite test strip in the meter but do not push it in far enough
            to activate the meter.  I hold Ginger on my lap facing forward or a bit to the side, so
            I am looking at the back of her head.  I massage her ear from the base upward to
            warm it for increased blood flow (she likes it).  I find a vein by holding the flashlight
            behind her ear, shining through the ear toward me.  Note: Do not use alcohol to clean
            the ear immediately before testing.  If the ear is dirty, it may be cleaned with water and
            dried thoroughly.

            In the beginning, the procedure is easier to manage with two people.  If you don't
            have a partner, go to the section "One Person" below.

           Two People
          I hold Ginger's ear steady over a cotton ball while my partner positions the Penlet
            over the vein(or a little toward the edge of the ear) using the notch on its cap as a
            guide.  He pushes it down firmly so the ear is securely pinned between the Penlet
            and cotton ball held behind the ear, and pushes the button to release the lancet.
            Ginger may jump a little but not much.  Then, unless we hit the large vein directly
            and get plenty of blood, I massage the ear to get a blood drop a little larger than an
            "o" and hold her ear steady so she can't flick the drop off (very important).
            If there is not enough blood (soon you will be able to tell in advance), we reposition
            the Penlet and try again.  If we think there is enough blood, my partner pushes
            the test strip into the meter to activate it and removes the foil (save it).  When the
            meter is ready, he touches the test strip to the blood drop, and the blood is drawn
            into the test strip automatically.  We continue holding the test strip in the blood a few
            seconds after the meter beeps (see Note 1 below).  Then I use the cotton ball to dry Ginger's
            ear and release her (yeah!) while the Glucometer Elite counts down and displays the
            blood glucose (BG) value.  We record the BG number manually along with the date
            and time, and use the foil to remove the test strip from the meter and discard it.
            If we misjudged and there is not enough blood for valid reading, we discard the test
            strip and start over.  Some people have reported inaccurate results (too low) if they try
            to re-stick and add more blood from a second drop before the meter beeps.

            One Person:
            When I do the test by myself, I have the meter with test strip inserted, but the meter
            not activated, sitting beside me.  I hold Ginger's ear steady over a cotton ball with one
            hand and position the Penlet with the other, then push down firmly and release the
            lancet.  Then I massage the ear to get a blood drop.

            Here's the only tricky part:  I hold her ear steady with the thumb and index finger of
            my left hand, bring the meter to it with my right hand, move the meter to my left hand
            (I hold it between my index and middle fingers), and use my right hand to push the
            test strip into the meter and remove the foil.  Then I switch the meter back to my right
           hand.  When the meter is ready, I hold the test strip to the blood drop and continue
            as described above.

            Later when you are confident of getting an adequate blood drop before the meter times
            out in three minutes, you can activate the meter before beginning the lancing process.
            If the time limit expires and the meter turns itself off before you're ready,use the foil to
            pull the test strip out of the meter, push it back in to reactivate the meter, and continue.

            Note 1:
           We have found that with the Glucometer Elite, the blood must completely fill the round
            collection area in the test strip AND two tiny "legs" that reach toward the bottom "C".
            If the blood sample has legs, the blood sample size should be adequate.  Like some
            other people have reported on the Net, we have had the meter beep to tell us it got
            enough blood, but the reading was incorrect (too low, verified by retesting immediately).

            Note 2:
           When you're a beginner, it can take 10+ tries before you get a blood drop of adequate
            size, so don't get discouraged.  Now it takes us only one or two tries.

            Other Suggestions:
            1.  To greatly reduce the number of sticks, use the lancet device head designed for
                 deeper penetration.  It does not seem to bother Ginger any more, and IF it goes
                 completely through the ear, you can get a blood drop on both sides.  This seems
                 to be easier on her than multiple sticks.
            2.  Use a lancet larger than ultra-fine.

           Paw Sticks
            You may need to stick with the lancet manually or use a lancet device that gives
           deeper penetration (e.g., SoftClix with adjustable depth) and larger lancets to get
           enough blood.  Otherwise it shows real promise as an alternate site to give the ears
            a break.  Our cat doesn't even move, like she doesn't even feel the stick.
           First wipe off the large pad on one of the paws with warm water and dry it.
           Press the lancet device FIRMLY against the pad and release the lancet.
           Then squeeze the pad to get a blood drop.  Continue as described with ear sticks.

            After the test, I discard the lancet and clean the lancet device cap with a generous
            amount of alcohol on a cotton ball and let it air dry.  It is recommended that you
            soak the lancet cap in alcohol for 10 minutes onces a week to disinfect.

            At the end of the day's testing period, I enter the BG results in to a spreadsheet
           (e.g., Microsoft Excel) and print a graph showing the Glucose Curve (BG vs. time).
           The graph is a lot easier to interpret than a list of numbers (a picture's worth a
           thousand words), and if desired you can label the insulin onset, peak, and duration,
            low BG,as well as any notes (insulin dosages and injection times, feeding amounts and
            times, symptons like excessive thirst or urination or hunger, etc.)  in text boxes
            on the graph.  It's awesome!  I give copies of the BG curves to our veternarian for

            Watch your pet's ears or paws for a few days afterward for signs of swelling, infection
            or excesssive bruising.  Most bruises are small and heal within a couple of days.
            If problems develop, see your Veternarian.

            Rotate the site of ear and paw sticks, just as you do with insulin injections.  You can
            use both edges of each ear, or any food pad (the largest pads may work best).

            Good luck to you and your diabetic pet!

Ken's Daisy has posed for a step by step picture tutorial of taking blood from above the tail area.

 Daisy's Blood Testing Pictures

Gill's Jake has posed for a step by step picture tutorial of taking blood from the lip area.

 Jake's Blood Testing Pictures

Shelly's Peaches
Click Here - For a Step by Step Tutorial on taking blood from the ear!

Jo's Buffy
 Buffy having blood taken from the ear

Christy's Cheyenne and Sue's Toby
 Cheyenne and Toby having blood taken from a callus

 NEW -- Blood Glucose Meter designed for Animals - NEW