How To Buy A Cat Blood Glucose Monitor

by K. L. Peterman
(Northern California)

A friend has a 12-year-old female cat who weighed approximately 13 pounds about a month and a half ago. She now weighs 10 pounds, and is drinking and peeing excessively. The vet diagnosed her with diabetes mellitus Type 2, and the very anxious cat owner is treating her with Nph insulin, 1.5 u in the morning and 1 u in the evening, a half hour after each meal.

We're trying to find a decent glucometer and have run into what I consider marketing snags, though I'm not sure they're just marketing. Some glucometers (very few and very expensive) are advertised as being "pet validated." Reading through the studies done in the last year, that doesn't seem to make a difference in either the accuracy of the results or the ease of use. The things cited by most cat owners using glucometers to regulate their diabetic cats is 1) the size of required blood sample, 2) the wicking of the test strip to the glucometer, and 3) the ongoing availability and cost of the test strips.

Could someone who knows about both the consumer side and the medical side of these stupid glucometers please put out a guide to choosing one for a diabetic cat?

Vet Suggestion: Buying A Cat Glucometer

Hello K.L.,

You are right; using hand-held glucometers in cats can be very frustrating. I have heard good reports about the Alpha Trak, but I generally recommend that owners purchase a meter that they feel comfortable with and can easily obtain supplies for.

Whichever glucometer is used, it is very important that owners bring it and their diabetic cats in to their veterinary hospital for several blood glucose measurements that are validated on an in house or commercial blood chemistry analyzer.

Running the same blood samples on a machine known to give accurate results and a new glucometer will let you know how reliable the glucometer is.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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