Home BG Testing - Different options for every pet.


Owner's home blood glucose testing habits
In order to get a feel for how prevalent home bg testing is, a survey was posted to the petdiabetes mailing list.  Owners were asked to choose the category that best described their home bg testing habits. People could respond either publicly or privately and the results are shown below.

The categories are:
I never do home bg testing
I bg test occasionally (for example if I think there is a problem)
I bg test on a regular basis (a monthly curve, weekly test for low bgs, etc)
I bg test every day (pre-injection bg test or daily test for low bg)
I usually bg test several times a day

Results from survey period Feb 2002-Feb 2005 (53 respondents) 

Category Dog Cat Percent
in this
I never do home bg testing 1 1 3
I bg test occasionally 14 3 34
I bg test on a regular basis 4 3 13
I bg test every day 5 9 26
I usually bg test several times a day 8 5 26

Results from survey period Dec 2001-Jan 2002 (61 respondents)

Category Dog Cat Guinea 
I never do home bg testing 5 4   15
I bg test occasionally 4 5 1 16
I bg test on a regular basis 8 7   25
I bg test every day 5 8   21
I usually bg test several times a day 9 5   23

Results from a survey taken in 2000: (62 respondents)

Category Dog Cat Not
I never do home bg testing 12 6   30
I bg test occasionally 9 9   30
I bg test on a regular basis 5 3   13
I bg test every day 3 7 1 16
I usually bg test several times a day 6 1   11

Some of the reasons given:

I never do home bg testing

  • I have Parkinson's Disease and I can't do the test.
  • It's not due to lack of trying - just a VERY unreceptive cat!!
  • My cat is hard to handle, and now that I've been told he has heart and kidney failure, I just think that's one more irritation he shouldn't have to deal with.
  • When my dog was first diagnosed it seemed everyone on the diabetes list was home testing, so I dashed out and bought a meter. It was the WORST part of my initiation into the world of pets with diabetes. I couldn't get a drop out of him; I was a wreck and he started to get quite angry. I felt guilty and full of shame. After a couple of months I realized I could trust my observation of him and use the urine test strips with pretty good accuracy. The main thing, I believe, is that my dog is happy, active and still with me. The meter sits on a shelf ...just where I want it ;-)
  • I'm just trying to deal with daily injections.
  • I have tried  several times and was not successful. Our dog also has Addison's disease and does not tolerate stress too well so I have decided not to pursue bg testing for now.
  • I've never done home bg testing. I do urine strips 2x a day and this has been ok so far. Our dog has a bg curve every 3 weeks at the vet hospital.
  • I would like to but my dog's mouth is so small it would be impossible.
  • Our dog is not to keen on things stuck in her mouth and has no hard calous patches on her legs. We urine test daily.

I bg test occasionally

  • Callie (cat) will only allow spot checks; Ziggy (cat) is fine with testing; when he was on ultralente we tested him twice a day out of necessity. When Ozzy (cat) was diabetic we tested him daily.
  • Maggie (dog) was tested several times a day in the beginning. Now a year has gone by and she is tested occasionally.
  • My dog is pretty well regulated and I only test if I think there is a problem.
  • I don't like to get hung up on numbers and mainly go by the way my cat is feeling.
  • I do curves on my dog every 3 months or so, and spot check her at peak times occasionally, or if I suspect a problem. She spends most of her days outside (we live in the country) and if I test her too often I go crazy with the results!

I bg test on a regular basis

  • We fall into this category except when problems arise. Then we test more frequently.
  • Chelsea (dog) has a bad habit of not showing signs of hypo until she is VERY critical, so for us it is a necessity.
  • Due to Spider's (cat) erratic readings, we usually check every am. Sometimes before the pm shot as well.
  • We do at least one good curve a month on our cat. I prefer to rely on "other" variables such as water; intake/output; food, same thing, weight; loss/gain/derivation from normal, coat health; activities (frisky v. lazy), etc. While I am "in tune" with all these factors, I still want to know what his numbers are, and I prefer my numbers to the vet's. His stress levels are less when I prick his ear at home. He does not even realize it's being done.
  • At various times throughout the past 2 years I have been in categories 1-5. I try to do a combination of urine and blood testing.  I do mostly mini curves or occasional testing on a  random basis now (or of course when i think there is a problem).  There have been times in the past  where I seemed to test every day, sometimes even several times a day  consecutively and I would feel bad when I looked back on that data because many times, once I was several weeks out from it, I could objectively look  back and see that I overdid it.

I bg test every day

  • I test my cat every day once, and when I feel something is off, I test more more than once a day.
  • I test before each injection, and also do spot checks at peak times on occasion. Also have been doing curves -- tests every 2 hours on Sundays. My dog is very cooperative for all this.
  • I now test every a.m., right after a urine test because my dog's bg fluctuates so much.  It is so quick and easy with the Glucometer Elite.

I usually bg test several times a day

  • Right now I fall into this category, but that's because I have changed Dixie's (dog) diet and her levels are coming down so I need to lower her insulin dose accordingly.
  • I do 3-5 tests per day; always pre-injection, and sometimes searching for a peak. If Bayou (dog) has some low numbers, I tend to test more. Also I test more if I change doses, insulins, feeding times etc. It would be nice not to have to test this much, but Bayou's BG's aren't that consistent.
  • Kyra (dog) gets tested several times a day. I can't go to bed without testing her ... plus before each meal and anytime I think something is up with her. We do complete curves at least twice a month.

Participate in the survey
Please use this form to participate in the survey.  The survey results will be updated periodically.

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Updated February 2005
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