Home testing and the glucose curve

An invaluable tool for the monitoring of feline diabetes is the glucometer. This is a device designed so that human diabetics can test their own blood. It is very useful for cats as well. Many people question the use of them as they are designed for human blood, but in reality, the devices cannot read DNA and tell that it is a cats blood :). Glucose is glucose.

The technique involves pricking the cats ear and getting a blood droplet. This goes onto a test strip that gets drawn into a glucometer. There are many types of glucometers on the market. We are using the Accucheck Advantage. If you are considering a glucometer, I would recommend one that has sipping strips (although I don't know if you can even get the other type anymore).

The ability to home test your cat's blood means that you will be able to do glucose curves at home. A glucose curve is when you give your cat his insulin and then check every 2-3 hours to see what the insulin is doing. The lowest number readings are the "nadir" and this is when the insulin is considered to "peak". Below is a glucose curve that we have done on Kitty (note the preshot is at the end of the previous 12 hour cycle)

Time after shot











In this instance, we are getting some overlap where the beginning of the next cycle is lower than the previous. Overlap can be very good where you get some time before the next insulin shot kicks in and the old one wears off. It can also be very bad, if it is too much and you can't schedule shots due to their unpredictability.

The glucose is important because it can also tell you how low your cat is going. Most veterinarians consider a cat regulated if their numbers range from 18-8 or so. Therefore, if your cat drops very low very quickly, you will need to take some action. Conversely, if your cat doesn't drop at all, you may need to consider whether they need more insulin or are perhaps experiencing somogyi.

One of the best benefits of doing curves at home is that your cat will not be subject to "vet stress" which can increase glucose levels artificially.