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Craig's Discussion of Meters, Lances, and Lancing Devices

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  • Craig's Discussion of Meters, Lances, and Lancing Devices

    Here's what I've written so far. Comments are very welcomed.

    Everyone has their favorite. I actually have five meters, always looking for something better, or less expensive to use. Some of us have the AlphaTrak2 meter that many vet clinics use, and is calibrated for dog / cat blood. Most who home test usually also have a human style meter. Why different types of meters? Because dog blood is a little different than human blood and the readout won't be exactly correct if using a human meter on a dog.

    AlphaTrak2. Probably considered the gold standard for home testing dogs. As I mentioned, many vet clinics use the AlphaTrak, so your readings would be the same as your vet would get. Being the GOLD standard, it is the most expensive system. MSRP is in the $150 range, but there are sometimes sales when it can be snagged for under $90. The real expense is with the test strips. They are almost always over $1 each. Many of us test two, or three, times a day. You will use even more getting your pup regulated when you might test six, or more, times in a day. This really adds up! There is another dog meter called the iPet (no kidding), but the few reviews I’ve read about the iPet were very poor.

    Human style. There are many choices, you've probably seen many commercials on TV. Prices generally run from around $20 to $40. Sometimes if you do a search you can actually find free offers (suggest if you fill out a form, or telephone, for a free offer, fill out the form as if you were the new diabetic: companies might not want to provide a free meter to a dog!). Test strips for human meters are lower priced, sometimes much lower priced, than the AlphaTrak2. Many on the forum use the One Touch Ultra and say its a good meter. My newest meter is the Walmart ReliOn Prime. The big thing about the Prime is the very low cost test strips: 18 cents each!

    Because there is an error testing dog blood with a human meter, most will take the human meter to the vet clinic and do a test at the same time the vet takes his test and compare the difference. For example a 100 reading on a human meter might be 140-150 if taken with the AlphaTrak. Usually, the higher the number, the greater the difference.

    A couple of us use both the AlphaTrak2 and a human meter. By testing with both meters a few times you can usually determine a percentage difference between the meters (testing several days with both meters). I do most of my testing with the inexpensive Walmart ReliOn Prime, but every few weeks I'll run a side-by-side test with the AlphaTrak2 to ensure my calculations are still close.

    Lancets. Lancets are the little needle things that we use to prick the skin to get a blood droplet to test. I’ve used several brands and haven’t seen any difference. I think some prefer one brand over another, but the brand doesn’t mean anything to me. What might matter is the gauge (needle thickness). I think most human diabetics prefer the very thin 30 or 31 gauge needles. If you buy a human test kit, the lancets included are probably 30 gauge. Many of us feel the 30/31 gauge lancets are too thin to get a decent blood sample from our pups. the slightly thicker 26 or thicker still 25 gauge lancets frequently do a better job on our pups. I’ve been using 25 gauge lancets for several years. You might not readily find 25 gauge lancets at your neighborhood store, I’ve had to order them online.

    Lancing device (clicker). Most kits contain a lancing device which is a spring loaded tool in-which you insert the lancet. There is a depth setting and when you activate the device it will quickly stab the lancet needle into the skin. Some people use the device, others will simply hold the lancet between their fingers and make a quick stab. I went several years just holding the lancet, without using the device/tool. I tried the device/tool several months ago and now use it all the time. Personal preference.
    Last edited by CraigM; 05-10-2013, 11:15 PM.
    Annie was an 18 pound Lhasa Apso that crossed the rainbow bridge on 10-5-17. She was nearly 17 years old and diabetic for 9 years.