When your cat is first diagnosed as diabetic, your veterinarian will discuss doing a blood glucose curve on him. This can be done either in the clinic; or, if you are comfortable, in your home. Most cats will have a slightly elevated blood glucose reading at the veterinary clinic due to stress – this is something that your veterinarian will take into account if the glucose curve is being done at the clinic.
The purpose of the glucose curve is to determine if the insulin dosage is correct for your cat. This curve will consist of several glucose readings taken at 2 – 4 hour intervals over the course of 12 – 24 hours (depending on your veterinarian’s recommendation).
When doing the glucose curve at home, be sure to schedule your day around the times that you will need to get the readings from your cat. Generally, it is a good idea to plan on doing a curve on your day off or a weekend to minimize the chance of missing a reading time and decrease distractions.
You will want to be sure that your glucometer is working well and that you are familiar with how it works. There are several different types of glucometers on the market. Alphatrak® is the most commonly used for testing cats and dogs as it seems to be the most accurate and require the smallest volume of blood. However, you can use any of the others available – you will just want to make sure to use the same meter every time to avoid any discrepancies.
Start by getting all the items you will need to test your cat’s blood ready before collecting your cat – this should help decrease your cat’s stress level. Some people find it easiest to confine the cat to a single room, like the bathroom, when it is time for a reading to be done – others are comfortable testing wherever the cat may be in the house. Whichever method works for you and your cat is fine.
Once you have everything ready to go, place your cat and yourself in a comfortable position to collect the blood sample. The sample is usually obtained from your cat’s outer ear. This is a low pain area and most cats will tolerate the poke and manipulation of the ear required to get the sample.
Each glucometer will require a different amount of sample for testing, but, generally it is a small drop. Once you have obtained the sample and while your meter is reading the results, you will want to apply a small amount of pressure with a gauze square or something similar to the area the sample was taken to allow the blood to clot.
Once your glucometer is done reading the results (usually only a couple of seconds), be sure to record the reading in your cat’s logbook or log sheet – record the date and time the sample was obtained as well as what the reading was, when he last ate, when his last insulin injection was given and how much insulin he received.
Be sure to bring the logbook or log sheet with you when your cat next visits his veterinarian or call the clinic with the results. This will help your veterinarian to determine if anything needs to be changed or adjusted with your cat’s insulin.