|How I Do An Ear Prick On Barney|
|I wash my hands and prepare all the supplies: clean work area, BG
meter, test strips, gauze, lancet, and cat. I purchased a package of 1 inch by 1 inch gauze
squares from the drug store. Some people use cotton balls. If you use cotton balls, I
recommend the 100% cotton balls, not the synthetic type. I use the Glucometer Elite meter
and its test strips, and B-D Ultrafine lancets. (In 1999, the Ultrafine original lancets are
no longer available, and the Ultrafine II didn't work for us, they were too fine.
But others say they worked just fine. You have to figure out what works on your
pet. I stocked up on Plenty of the original ones.)
For Barney, it works best if he is sleeping or very relaxed. If he is at all agitated or in an active mood we usually can not hold him still without him getting very upset. He does not like to be even lightly restrained. He either sits in my lap, or sits or lays on a chair. We pet his head and neck and just hold his head and ear still.
I make sure his ear is very warm. It is difficult to get a drop of blood from a cold
ear, or even a cool ear.
Petting or massaging the ear usually gets it warm enough for the blood to be flowing well.
If the ear is cold I massage it for a few minutes. I have used a small warm water
bottle (a warm washcloth folded up inside a plastic zip-lock bag). I hold the warm bag
against the ear I am going to prick. The wash cloth is not too hot; I am be able to
comfortably hold the wash cloth in my bare hand.
I prick from the back side of the ear towards the inside. My pricking hand (right hand) is
behind Barney's head and ear. With my left hand I hold a folded gauze pad on the inside of
his ear. With my thumb and first two fingers I hold the gauze against his ear....my thumb
is on the back of his ear and my other two fingers hold the gauze firmly against the
inside of his ear. I can hold the ear steady and I have something firm (the gauze) to
prick against. I roll his ear a little to the inside (towards my first two fingers) so it
is a firm area to prick against. I want the ear to stay tight against my fingers so the
lancet goes into the ear instead of pushing the ear away.
I try to do one, firm, quick prick. I try to hit the blood vessel directly so that a large
enough blood drop forms quickly. If I miss the vessel not enough blood comes out. If the
blood drop does not form immediately I gently massage from the base of the ear towards
where the prick is. This usually helps a blood drop form. I don't squeeze too hard or too
long. I try not to "milk" or squeeze blood from the ear. It usually causes a
larger bruise. If a drop of blood does not form in about 15 seconds, I try another prick.
As the meter is measuring the bg (30 seconds) I hold the gauze against the spot where I
did the prick. Gentle, but firm pressure for about 15 seconds usually stops any
bleeding. If Barney's ear continues to bleed, I just hold the gauze in place longer.
I have never had any problems with bruising or damage to Barney's ear.
Updated Aug 2001