View Full Version : Testing BG..

02-14-2009, 11:27 AM
Hi Guys,

Ok..I received the BG meter today along with the tests. I tried this out this morning with Zeus. I don't like to sound negative, but I don't think I can do this. :( How important is it to test the blood at home? I know that it has been said that the urine strips are not that accurate for the BG just ketone. I am hoping that I can get the hang of this. How many of you do your own curves at home? Do you adjust the insulin levels also or is that something that needs to be done by the vet. Testing the blood is alot different then giving the shots. I thought I would do well since the shots are a breeze for me. Lots of help and advice needed. The video looks alot easier.



We Hope
02-14-2009, 11:46 AM

Don't worry about this now. You can continue monitoring Zeus with the Ketodiastix while you decide when you're ready for a try at blood testing.

Let's let others who are regular home testers give you some pointers on how they handle things.

When I started doing any blood testing at all, it was for my mother, who was diagnosed with Type 2 very late in life. The meter the doctor prescribed gave you 10 test strips to get started with. It was a good thing we also had a standard size vial of them because it took me less than 10 minutes to kill off every one of the "starter" strips. I either had not enough blood or too much. I did get the "hang" of it, though, but it took some practice and enough "flubs". :D

With Lucky, we knew that he wasn't going to be willing to allow me to do blood testing in addition to giving him the two insulin shots a day; we were afraid trying it with him would mean losing his co-operation for the shots. Since our vet is practically family, Lucky was professionaly tested at least weekly or more, doing this at different hours to get a good idea of what he was doing at various times.

If you don't want to try this now, you're not a failure or letting Zeus down--the same is true if you decide you can't ever get into blood testing! :)

So hang in there--you don't need to do anything about this instantly! ;)


02-14-2009, 12:11 PM
Dawn...you'll get varied opinions on the importance and frequency so what I am saying is what I have found to be true for myself and my Mildred for the last 4 1/2 years as I did choose to begin home testing on the day that she was diagnosed. I believe that it is an extremely important part of their daily care with testing at least at every fasting day in and day out. I usually test between 2 and 5 times on an average day, running periodic curves if I see the need. I use both NPH and Humalog with Mildred so have learned to care for her requiring indepth information that would be impossible to obtain by urine testing.Because I have chosen to home test as often as I do I can read numbers and am able to adjust both of her insulins accordingly. When my diabetic cat was alive it was because I was home testing that I found him to be in remission and had I not been testing him I would have blindly continued to give him insulin which may have killed him or caused serious issues. If a dog is co operative as Mildred learned to be home testing is not at all difficult, with a little practice it becomes a routine part of their care as are the injections. With testing you are able to walk out of the door for extended periods of time without the worry of them dropping too low because you are able to feed a possible oncoming low number before it happens. It takes practice and persistence, it can someday be a lifesaver, the information obtained by just a few readings is invalueable. Eileen

Soaphie & Sydney's Mom
02-14-2009, 03:18 PM
Hi Dawn,

I started home testing about 3.5 months after diagnosis. When I first got the testing kit I was VERY nervous. My husband tested himself on his own finger to see how it felt. After that, we proceeded to test Soaphie. The first few times were nerve racking to say the very least. Now? I no longer need help - I can do it myself and it's a breeze. She sits there like a trooper and it's quite quick.

But again - the first time (and for me a few more times) it was nerve racking.

How often do we test? Right now I test her randomly - just depending on the signals she's giving me.

Have patience with yourself.


Cara's Mom
02-14-2009, 05:41 PM
I had to start testing right after Cara was dx, in Aug/08. A visit to the vet made a wreck out of her. (was bad for my wallet too:o)
So, I have been doing BG testing and curves for 6 mnths now. The first times were just awfull:eek:...but it had to be done for Cara's well being.
The first few months I had to do a curve once a week and on that the vet would decide the insulin dose.
Now I test premeals and around her lowest point (nadir) to make sure she is still on track. And when I think she is not behaving normal, seems different than normal, or is on medication I test little more.
I believe hometesting is better for the dogs..a vet visit can be very stressful.
It's a little hard in the beginning, but so were the shots. In no time you will get used to it and it becomes routine:)
Give yourself time, don't rush things! You can do it!!!

Best wishes

P.S I started out testing on the ear....I did not like it and neither did Cara. I now test the lip!

02-14-2009, 07:44 PM
Hi Dawn

I test at home as it makes me feel secure about how forbin is doing. I test at Nadir and before i give him an injection. when his insulin is changed, I do a curve. At first, I felt really bad about doing it, but he knows the routing now and doesn't seem to mind at all. I'd rather test than inject quite frankly :)

02-14-2009, 09:46 PM
Thanks everyone once again for all of the advice and help. Hopefully,very shortly Iwill get the hang of it. Not sure what (nadir) means. Cara's mom said that she tested premeals and nadir. Sorry, if this sounds stupid of me but I am still learning the diabeties lingo..

thanks again


We Hope
02-14-2009, 09:49 PM

Nadir is the lowest point of the bg's--this corresponds to "peak" when you talk about insulin. Peak means when the insulin is working hardest. That would be bringing the bg's to their lowest point, the nadir. ;)


02-14-2009, 11:26 PM
I was a complete newbie when I brought Lucy home. I went completely by Natalie & Chris's video & the advice from people on this and the Cushings forum.

Now it's the shots that are more nerve wracking for me.

Lucy has learned that the test means a treat. She runs right to her regular spot when it's time & lets me stick her lip with no drama.

I consider home testing vital to my peace of mind. I like to know what's happening and I tend to worry & fret a LOT. Home testing assures me that Lucy is doing OK. Also, no way could I afford to take Lucy to the vet for BG testing all the time.

You can learn to do this. If she won't tolerate the lip stick, there are other places.

Good luck!


02-15-2009, 08:10 AM
Hi Dawn,

Too bad I don't have a video of me testing Chris the first week or two that I tried to do it! It would have looked a LOT different!

I realize now that part of the problem initially was that the meter I was using required a large drop of blood but...

It took us a long time to get to the point where testing was a breeze. Chris had never really cared for having his lip handled - not hysterical or anxious, just not something he preferred. I wasn't sure how best to position him. He was wiggly. The meter would time out. I wouldn't get enough blood. Chris would move AFTER the blood drop formed, splashing it on his lip.... We were like the three stooges and there was just the two of us!! :rolleyes:

So don't worry about it. And don't push yourself and Zeus until you both get frustrated. It will come. Eventually, I could lay Chris down, draw one drop of blood, and fill the strips in three different meters at once!

One thing I did right in the beginning was try once or twice and then stop, whether I was successful or not. I'd try again later in the day or even wait until the next day. So it didn't become a big pressured event causing lots of stress for Chris and me. We both got better at it with time and eventually could pretty consistently get the drop tested. I think it took us a couple of weeks of trying for a few tests each day before it started to get easier.

And that's not to say that we never again lost a lovely blood drop to a sneeze or movement or that we never had a bad test cuz the blood drop wasn't big enough. I used to hate it when he'd sneeze and blow my lovely bead of blood across the room!! :p

There were also areas of Chris' lips that worked better than others so with time I learned where I was most likely to be successful. And I could tell from experience how much blood was enough.

Something you can do to save those expensive strips is to work first on consistently getting a good blood drop and forget about testing it. Just experiment with where and how to get a good drop of blood and once you have that down, you can add in the testing part.

Some folks have also found it helpful to get good with the meter by testing themselves and then using that experience to make it easier to know how much blood they need to test with their dogs.

For now, don't worry too much about "how" you will use home testing. Just work on you and Zeus finding a way to test that works for you first, without putting pressure on yourself - go slow, reward yourselves for little successes, and see how it goes.

When you are good at it, you can figure out how you want to use it.

And if Zeus can't be home blood tested, it's not the end of the world. Some dogs just won't tolerate it and that's okay.

It is an incredible tool, one worth persisting in trying to learn. I think you will get there. You just need some time.


02-15-2009, 06:21 PM
Thanks guys...I know so or later I will get the strength and courage and the know how to do this..thanks so much for all of your helpful advice.


02-16-2009, 08:08 AM
We are still in the process of regulating Dixon so we test him fairly frequently (at least 2x day, once before each meal). I have to say my biggest reason for blood testing at home is to save money on vet bills. Like everyone else the first couple of days were pretty awful. Sometimes I had to stick him 4-5 times before I could get anything that looked even close to a decent size blood drop. Dixon would be shaking, I would be frustrated and sweating. It was awful. However with trial and error (unfortunately....I just don't think there is any other way to learn) we have become MUCH better. The ear did not work for us AT ALL. The lip only works if I test the underside (so not inside the lip, not outside the lip but directly under...and yes, I had to stick Dixon multiple times to figure that out). The most reliable place for us is the carpol pad (I think that is the name? The pad on his doggie "wrist"), but even then sometimes I do a stick and fail to get a big enough drop. We are still learning. I also wasted (and continue to waste) test strips as learn.

I did what Natalie suggested and tested on myself first (which after I got over the OMG I have to stick myself factor, was quite easy). Of course I bleed really well so I was shocked at how hard it was to get Dixon to give up the blood. Still, knowing that I can stick myself and get blood makes me realize that the process isn't really that bad so I do not feel guilty about testing Dixon. Also, he gets a small sliver of liver treat after he is tested so he now RUNS over to me when he hears me open the test strip case. Clearly the dog is okay with the whole thing now.

Hang in there. It is really hard to hear that our furry babies are sick and that we have to "hurt" them (I use quotations on that because it feels like we are hurting them, but I don't think we really are) to monitor them and help make them better. I believe you can do this though! Take it slow. Set small goals (I think Nats idea of just getting a drop of blood w/o using a test strip is GREAT). Be gentle with yourself as a new learner. We are all here for you!

02-16-2009, 08:14 AM
Dixon is soooo adorable :)

02-16-2009, 03:32 PM
Dixon is soooo adorable :)

Awww! Thanks!

02-17-2009, 03:51 AM
Hi Dawn,

it just takes some time to get comfortable with doing this, I have great faith in you, i use the top of the tail method.

Hang in there! you will get more comfortable as we go along.;)

02-19-2009, 10:59 AM
Oh these posts are making me laugh! I'm so glad it's not just me.;)

Does anyone use an actual clicker gadget and not just the lancets? If so which one do you use? I find I tend to pull back just as I'm about to put the lancet in (using Dazzle's lip as that seems to work best for her) so I've stabbed her but not hard enough to get blood. So I have to do it again. I thought using the gadget would eliminate that hesitance at least.

She's been so patient with me even when I was doing the curve on Tuesday. I've already used up half my test strips through making mistakes:mad: She still comes quite willingly though when she sees me get the meter out.

I've tried a pad with Dazzle but not been able to get any blood. THought it would be nicer for her if I could use more than one place. Someone mentioned the carpal pad - haven't tried that so will give it a go. Tried the ear but she really didn't like that at all.

Oh well, off to feed the 5000 (5 dogs and 26 cats and kittens) and to give Dazzle her evening insulin.

02-19-2009, 01:06 PM
Oh these posts are making me laugh! I'm so glad it's not just me.;)

Does anyone use an actual clicker gadget and not just the lancets? If so which one do you use? I find I tend to pull back just as I'm about to put the lancet in (using Dazzle's lip as that seems to work best for her) so I've stabbed her but not hard enough to get blood. So I have to do it again. I thought using the gadget would eliminate that hesitance at least.

I use the AccuCheck Softclix pen and check Lucy's lip.

The hardest part was actually setting it for a deep enough stick. I was SO afraid of hurting her. Honest. She doesn't even seem to feel it.

I had it set at "4" and it "worked" but often I didn't get enough blood & had to be very close to the edge of her lip.

I finally tried it at "4.5." She doesn't even know the difference. Not only do I get a more consistent drop of blood, it seems to have greatly increased the area that will yield the red stuff.

You don't even want to know how many strips I wasted when I started. Part of it was not wanting to stick Lucy again when I had an "iffy" drop of blood.
Now if I'm not sure I go ahead & stick 'er again till I get a good drop.

Sometimes, even when I know I have a good drop, the strip doesn't take it all.:mad: You don't want to hear the language when that happens...:eek:


Soaphie & Sydney's Mom
02-19-2009, 02:19 PM
We use the one touch ultra on Soaphie. I use the clicker gadget. The setting actually varies for us depending on which side of Soaphie's mouth and which day (bizarre). Sometimes as low as 3 will work, other times....6....not sure what the deal is, but we try to apply the same pressure to her mouth and it still just depends on the day...

02-19-2009, 02:33 PM
I also used the accuchek sofclix on a setting of 4.5 for lip testing. It is much quieter than the clicker that came with the meter.

Cara's Mom
02-19-2009, 03:34 PM
I use the OneThouchUltra meter and the clicker gadget that came with it. You do know that you can get the lancets in different gauges? I use a 25 gauge lancet from Freestyle. I found the finer lancets just did not work for me. When I got the AlphaTrak (for animals only) it came with the 25 gauge lancets too. So maybe this is something to try?

02-20-2009, 01:53 PM
We used the Softclix lancing device on Chris' lip - odd, I don't remember what setting we used.... I think it was 2 or 2.5.

There definitely were certain areas of his lips that would provide a blood sample better than others. Too far back along the lip line, in particular, would not give a good bead. In his case we worked generally from above the canine tooth back about an inch or two.

I would lay Chris on his side, which left the lip flat and I'd put one finger on each side of the spot I was going to lance and pull it taut just a little so there was resistance to the lance. I also applied the lancing device with just a tiny bit of pressure.

02-22-2009, 12:31 AM
I test Bailey on the inner lip and I've found he forms the perfect bead on the right side, but often doesn't bleed at all on the right. I've also found that he consistently beads well on the pink parts of his lips, but not the darker coloring. Weird, but you find these little quirks as you do it more and more.

I use the lancet pen that comes with the Walgreen's monitor we have - it has 5 settings and I use setting 4. I've had my husband test him several times so he'll know how to do it, and I find that he has a tendency to not hold the pen firmly enough against Bailey's lip, so the needle doesn't penetrate. I have recently found that the lancet measurement makes a big difference. I accidentally bought a finer gauge last time and have to work his lip more frequently now since the finer gauge doesn't give me an instantly good blood bead. Thankfully, my dog doesn't mind any of this, so I've had it easy it the poking department.

Good luck to you - you'll figure it out with a little time and practice. :)