The Importance of Home Glucose Testing

We test Kitty's blood sugar at home, using a human glucometer. We prick the edge of his ear and use take a small drop of blood as a sample to measure how much sugar is in his blood. This is an absolutely invaluable tool for us, especially since Kitty has proven so difficult to regulate.

Case in point: Last week, his numbers were terrible. Worse than usual. I thought we had totally lost the plot in treating his feline diabetes. I was giving more insulin, but the response was poor. I had a thought: perhaps my Lantus insulin had gone "off"? It looked fine. Most people find that they get foreign matter, particulate or "floaties: in their Lantus as in indicator that it may be losing effectiveness. We had no such cue. The other issue is that Kitty is so wildly unregulated, we thought this was par for the course.

On a whim, I purchased a fresh bottle of Lantus on Sunday. His morning preshots have been 22-28 mmol/dlLlast week. This morning he was at 14.6 mmol/dlL. Last night I gave him 4U of insulin. Today I decided that I should reduce that and gave him 3U. When I came home at lunch, he was at 5.6 mmol/dl and quickly dropped to 2.7 mmol/dL. (Note normal ranges for healthy cats are 4-8 mmol/dL. For diabetics, we don't like them to go too far below 6 mmol/dL because they do not have the mechanisms as we do to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can have terrible consequences. However, I gave him some Pounce treats and once he was on his way up, I felt it was safe to go back to work. Luckily my employer is kind and patient; I was gone for over 3 hours!

Tonight, his preshot was only at 5.4 mmol/dL, four hours after I last tested him. Shooting at this level is asking for trouble, as today has proven. If I hadn't been testing him, I would be giving insulin blindly and possibly causing harm. I am going to wait and see if I can give him a shot later this evening. Hopefully we will be able to manage this overlap better, but for now, this is what we have to do.

Ignorance is bliss, but not when dealing with feline diabetes.