Reasons why you should learn to test your cat’s blood glucose levels at home
Despite what you might have heard to the contrary, it’s not only possible to blood test your cat at home, it’s easy!
Your cat will not hate you for it. Sure, there may be some indignant looks and hiding under the bed the first few times, (you or the cat!) but both of you will get used to this very very quickly. Cats do not leave home because you’ve started blood testing them.
I do know that some vets seem very anti blood-testing at home. They seem to believe that if you test at home you’ll make changes to insulin dosages without their consent, (with potentially disastrous consequences) or that you get inaccurate results by home testing.
The first is a genuine concern, and it’s of utmost importance that you discuss your findings with your vet, and show them any blood glucose curves you’ve done so that you can make an informed decision together.
The latter concern is twaddle. I sincerely believe that the results you get at home are more accurate than those you’ll get at the vets for two very simple reasons. Firstly, home blood testing is a lot less stressful on your cat. At the vets, your cat will be upset and anxious, and as a consequence the blood glucose level will be elevated. (This blood sugar elevation is true of even non-diabetic cats) Testing at home in their own environment means any results will be a much more accurate reflection of blood glucose levels.
Secondly, cats often won’t eat at the vets, therefore any blood samples aren’t giving an accurate picture of how a specific insulin combined with normal feeding effects blood sugar levels. At home under normal routines and normal feeding, your results would be much more useful.
The argument that blood-testing meters aren’t accurate enough doesn’t hold water either - every day millions of diabetic humans trust their lives to the results these devices give them. Proof enough?
Not only is it a lot less stressful for your cat, it’s a lot cheaper for you. Having your cat spend a day at the vets being blood tested every two hours or so is incredibly expensive - and I have yet to meet a vet that would be prepared to do a blood test every two hours for 24 hours. You can do this at home with the only outlay being the cost of the meter and the strips.
Home blood glucose testing puts you in control of this condition like no other monitoring method can. If you’re worried that your cat is about to have a hypo episode you can know for sure, without a doubt, and take appropriate action immediately.
The more tightly controlled this condition is, the fewer concurrent conditions will arise, and the better quality of life your cat will have. Blood glucose testing is the only accurate way to determine how well controlled your cat’s blood sugar levels are.
Cats, for reasons known only to themselves, can spontaneously start producing their own insulin again. Injecting more insulin into a cat who is honeymooning as it’s called is a sure way to a hypoglycaemic episode. Blood glucose testing is the only way to know whether your cat needs insulin or not.