Outside Lip Prick for Obtaining Blood from a Dog


When I first read about getting blood from the dog's lip, I assumed it was from the outside of the lip. Not until I had been doing this for months, did I realize that most people were using the inside of the lip. By that time, I had done hundreds of successful sticks without objection from Bayou and, therefore, saw no reason to change my technique. The one advantage I see with sticking the outside as opposed to the inside of the lip is that I never have the problem of saliva mixing with the blood. Bayou, a Siberian Husky, usually stands for the operation. I straddle her back, my knees pressed gently into her sides to hold her in place. However, the procedure can also be done with the dog lying down. I use the lancet manually, but I assume the lancing device could be used as well. Here is the routine in detail: 
Step 1.
The equipment should be prepared in advance, ready for use. The test strip wrapping should be opened, but the strip not yet inserted into the meter. The lancet device should be loaded, or if using the lancet manually, the cap twisted off the lancet. The meter, test strip, lancet and a facial tissue should be placed within easy reach.
Step 2.
Just before you are ready to get blood, insert the test strip into the meter.
Step 3.
The dog should be in a relaxed position. Slip the index finger of the left hand (if you are right-handed) under the upper left lip of the dog, move the finger upwards in order to stretch the skin of the lip. Hold the taut skin in place by positioning the thumb and the middle finger on the outside of the lip adjacent to the index finger. That portion of the lip is now partially wrapped around the index finger. This is very important: The skin of the lip must be taut. If it is not, jabbing the lip with the lancet would be like jabbing into a soft rubber ball. 
Hold the lip taut
Step 4.
Once the lip skin is taut, make a very quick jab. With a fresh lancet and stretched skin, the jab does not need to be very forceful, but it should be a quick jab instead of a gentle push.
Make a quick jab into the taut skin.
Step 5.
After the jab release the lip entirely and put down the lancet or device. With a gentle squeezing motion, using both hands, look for the bead of blood. Sometimes it's there immediately, even before putting down the lancet, in which case you grab the meter immediately. Sometimes you have to squish the lip around to find the puncture. Good lighting is essential, especially if the bead of blood doesn't appear immediately. If there isn't enough blood at first, milk the area very gently until enough blood comes up. Then hold the dog's face and lip steady, slip the index finger again inside the lip under the spot where the bead appears, and hold it in place with the thumb on the outside.
Get the bead of blood.
Step 6.
Pick up the meter into which the test strip has already been inserted, and hold it on to the bead until enough blood has been wicked up.
Touch the test strip to the blood drop.
Step 7.
Clean the puncture area with the facial tissue.

It doesn't matter where on the lip the blood is taken. Usually it's somewhere towards the middle. Sometimes I've jabbed close to the hair on the muzzle, but the hair didn't cause a problem. Bayou's whiskers get in the way from time to time, but that doesn't matter either.

This procedure sounds perhaps complicated, but it is really very easy if the animal is relaxed and cooperates. The instructions read as if the procedure takes forever, but the whole thing is over in less than 30 seconds.

--Contributed by Joan and Bayou

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