Effective, painless, at-home
glucose monitoring system for diabetic dogs.
Guidelines for Pet Owners Using the Vet-Tab System to Monitor Their Diabetic Dogs Blood Glucose at Home
Your Dog’s Diabetes
After your dog is diagnosed as diabetic, your veterinarian likely will tell you that with regular insulin injections and regular monitoring of your dog’s blood glucose, your dog can avoid diabetes’ complications, such as blindness, and experience a good quality of life. The American Animal Hospital Association (“AAHA”) 2018 Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats emphasizes that the management of a dog’s diabetes “requires the commitment and coordinated efforts of the veterinary healthcare team and the pet-owner client.”
Canine diabetes is usually the result of your dog’s pancreas not producing enough of the hormone insulin needed to store glucose (sugar) in your dog’s body for use as energy. As a result, without treatment a diabetic dog’s blood glucose is at an unhealthy high level. Insulin injections are required to provide the insulin normally produced by your dog’s pancreas. The AAHA indicates your goal in monitoring your dog’s blood glucose regularly is to ensure it is in a healthy range and that the insulin injections do not cause your dog’s blood glucose to drop to dangerously low levels.
The Vet-Tab System
The Vet-Tab system is designed to connect you with your veterinarian more closely than other monitoring systems available. You collect your dog’s saliva on a Vet-Tab test strip which is then analyzed by the Vet-Tab smartphone app to determine your dog’s blood glucose. A chart of your dog’s health data can be emailed your veterinarian to review.
Below is a trend line of Vet-Tab test data for a real diabetic dog. Prior to using Vet-Tab, this pet owner was not monitoring his dog’s blood glucose because he disliked lancing his dog to draw blood. Vet-Tab allows the pet owner to painlessly monitor his dog's glucose through its saliva. The at-home test data below shows that his dog's glucose was going up, an insight not previously available to either the pet owner or the veterinarian. Seeing this data, the pet owner scheduled a visit to his veterinarian to adjust the insulin injections so his dog’s blood glucose was better regulated. The pet owner and the veterinarian also discussed diabetes complications that the pet owner should be on the lookout for.
Using the Vet-Tab system to monitor your diabetic dog’s glucose is a win/win/win solution. Your dog is healthier. You don’t have to lance your dog to draw blood to determine its blood glucose. Your veterinarian has access to your at-home health data to help you care for your dog when its glucose is too high or low.
Monitoring Your Dog’s Blood Glucose
The AAHA indicates that clinical signs of diabetes, called hyperglycemia, are present when your dog’s blood glucose is persistently above 200 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (“mg/dL”). When your dog’s blood glucose is high, the purpose of insulin injections is to reduce the glucose level to a healthier range. The AAHA indicates that your goal of monitoring your dog’s blood glucose is to keep it from being too high while avoiding it dropping too low. Your veterinarian will advise you about the high end for your dog that you should be concerned about, which may be higher than 200 mg/dL. Blood glucose below 80 mg/dL is a very dangerous condition called hypoglycemia which can quickly result in complications or death.
No at-home glucose monitoring system is as accurate as the lab tests available to your veterinarian. The AAHA emphasizes that you should not change the amount or frequency of your dog’s insulin injections on your own without consulting your veterinarian. The one very important exception is if your dog’s blood glucose drops below 80 mg/dL, you should stop insulin injections and contact your veterinarian for advice as soon as possible.
Blood glucose fluctuates normally based on what your dog has recently eaten, your dog’s activity level, and whether your dog is under stress, such as during a visit to your veterinarian’s practice. Because of this, the AAHA does not recommend isolated spot checks of blood glucose.
Early Warning System
Vet-Tab recommends that you test your dog twice daily, once after fasting in the morning when you inject insulin before your dog eats breakfast, and once after fasting when you inject insulin in the afternoon before your dog eats dinner. With this data, the Vet-Tab system produces a trendline of blood glucose levels available to you on your smartphone app and to your veterinarian on the online dashboard. This trendline serves as a early warning system that your dog’s blood glucose is at an unhealthy level and you should consult your veterinarian to adjust your dog’s treatment. The real life case study above illustrates how this early warning system works to help keep your dog healthy.
Blood Glucose Curves
The AAHA recommends monitoring your dog’s blood glucose by producing blood glucose curves. The AAHA strongly recommends that you produce blood glucose curves at home due to the increase in glucose levels sometimes caused by stress in animal hospitals. The AAHA recommends producing blood glucose curves by:
- Determining your dog’s glucose every 2 hours for one interval between injections.
- If insulin is administered twice daily, determine the glucose level every 2 hours for 12 hours.
- If insulin is administered once daily, determine the glucose level every 2 hours for 24 hours.
- If blood glucose is below 150 mg/dL during any curve, the your dog’s blood glucose should be determined hourly.
The AAHA recommends that a blood glucose curve be produced:
- after the first dose of a new kind of insulin;
- at 7–14 days after an insulin dose change;
- at least every 3 months even in well-controlled diabetics;
- any time clinical signs recur in a controlled patient; and
- when hypoglycemia is suspected.
Messaging in the Vet-Tab System
To help you manage your dog’s diabetes, the Vet-Tab system has three levels of messaging.
Alarms: These are in pop up messages to you in your app and push notifications to the primary contact at your veterinarian’s practice indicating a dangerous trend in your dog’s test data has been identified.
Daily Reminders: These are text messages to your reminding you to test your dog’s glucose and to keep your journal up to date.
Weekly Tips: These are educational messages delivered inside your app and/or texted to you of tips or managing your dog’s diabetes.
The goal of monitoring your dog’s blood glucose is to keep from being too high while avoiding it dropping too low. Determining your dog’s blood glucose twice daily allows the Vet-Tab to create a trendline of the data that serves as an early warning system that you need to consult with your veterinarian. Producing blood glucose curves when appropriate also help ensure the level and frequency of insulin injections are appropriate.
Keeping your diabetic dog healthy so it avoids complications and lives a long life is a big job. The Vet-Tab system simplifies this challenging task by allowing you to monitor your dog’s blood glucose painlessly, and keeps you connected to your veterinarian when you need help.