Your cat's diabetes does more than prevent Mr. Fuzzbottom from eating Sugar-Frosted Sugar Bombs for breakfast. If left unchecked, the excess glucose in your cat's blood can cause numerous medical issues and make him sick. Constant monitoring helps you regulate his insulin levels and keep him healthy.
Glucose Monitor Basics
Regardless of brand, design or price, all glucose monitors do the same thing -- measure the amount of sugar, or glucose, in your kitty's blood. A small, palm-sized device, the glucometer features buttons and an LCD screen on the front, and a small hole to insert the testing strip. The monitor's internal workings scan the strip and after a few minutes offer a reading on the little screen of the amount of glucose present. Some devices offer more bells and whistles, but all you really need is a device that offers an accurate readout of your cat's blood sugar level.
Much to your kitty's frustration, regularity is key when it comes to testing, as a reading once in a while doesn't offer much insight in your kitty's health. Testing requires a drop of Mr. Fuzzbottom's blood, typically obtained from the tip of an ear. Warm his ear with a heated washcloth or warmed sock filled with uncooked rice. Quickly prick the outside edge of the ear with a lancet or sterile needle. Collect a drop of blood on a testing strip and allow it to soak into the paper before wiping off the excess. Insert the strip into the monitor and lavish your kitty with love and affection as you wait for the meter to issue a reading.
Things to Consider
The amount of use the glucometer gets depends on your cat's specific situation, so talk with your vet before you start jabbing your kitty. Different monitors require a different amount of blood, ranging from a tiny pinprick to a much larger amount. Find a monitor that requires as little blood as possible, as the more blood you need, the longer and more frustrating testing is for your cat to endure. Check for the cost and shelf life of replacement strips, as it does no good to buy them in huge bulk batches if there's no way you'll ever use them before they expire.
Charting the Results
Getting readings of your cat's glucose levels does no good if you don't make note of them to watch for patterns or problems. Talk with your vet about the Goldilocks Zone your cat's glucose should be in, and enter dates, times and readings in a chart or notebook to keep track. Blood sugar levels fluctuate naturally depending on various factors such as exercise, food and time of day, so don't freak out if you notice your cat's levels aren't completely level across the board. If you notice large spikes in his readings or an unusual increase that won't drop back down after a number of days, consult with your vet for advice on how to proceed.
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