Am I giving my cat an ear hematoma by testing?:( Am I doing it wrong?

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by HelloKrystie, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. HelloKrystie

    HelloKrystie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2020
    I’ve only recently started testing (less than a week now), and like everyone else, it’s been an adventure. Today I noticed a little raised bump on my kitty’s ear. (Picture attached) I normally have to poke him at least three times to get the needed amount of blood. I’m free-handing using lancets. I warm his ear with a rice sock, use a piece of cotton as a cushion, and hold his poke for a few seconds after I’m done as well. At the suggestion of Deb, I tried icing last night and again this morning...it isn’t happening. Using his other ear is next to impossible, for some reason he does not tolerate that ear being touched, at all. (No past history of issues or any type of trauma, he just doesn’t like it) I fought with him for over 40 minutes this afternoon trying to get his +9 reading using his other ear. Is this a small hematoma forming? A keloid scar perhaps? What can I do? I’ve watched ear testing videos, and I read the “psychology of testing” article. Am I going too deep (I have gone through his ear a few times now)? The wrong angle? Should I be slowly poking, or quickly stabbing? (That sounds awful...I’m stabbing my cat with a little needle a few times a day!)
    Any advise for a relatively new tester?
     

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  2. Nan & Amber (GA)

    Nan & Amber (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Huh... I haven't seen a bump like that from testing before. Maybe a little infected? Does it feel comparatively warm to the touch?

    I guess just try to avoid that area, and make sure to put a dab of antibiotic ointment (like neosporin or polysporin) on the ear at least once per day. If it doesn't go away in a few days, I'd call the vet, it might be something else.

    And, just to cover all bases, never reuse the lancets (or syringes for that matter), not only does it risk infection but they also get dull and painful with use.
     
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  3. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    It looks to me like you may have gotten really close to the ear vein with one of the pokes.
    It will heal. May take a week. Antibiotic ointment to take the sting away and help heal.
     
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  4. HelloKrystie

    HelloKrystie Member

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    Jan 26, 2020
    Sorry for the delay, for some reason I’m not getting all my alert notifications :(

    That was one of the first things I checked for, I know when something is getting infected it can feel warm. Thankfully it doesn’t feel any warmer than the rest of him. I’ve cleaned it a few times with warmed saline, and I keep a layer of Neosporin pain relief on his poked ears. I even use the Neosporin as my Vaseline before I poke. I will keep an eye on it and make sure it’s not growing, or oozing.
    Thank you for the reply!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  5. HelloKrystie

    HelloKrystie Member

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    Jan 26, 2020
    That is very likely, one of his pokes bled a lot more than others that I’ve done.

    I tired to shave his ears like you mentioned...that was a hoot. I definitely need someone to assist and hold his head. I’m TERRIFIED of nicking his ear. You can see one little spot in the picture where I was able to get him. That was my first attempt, then he was onto me. Lololol
     
  6. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Time to co-opt the boyfriend. Minions, I mean assistants, are very necessary when trying to do certain things with your cat, like the tiny spot shaving.

    Wink put up with it because at the time, he was still very sick.
     
  7. HelloKrystie

    HelloKrystie Member

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    Jan 26, 2020
    The bf has had limited access to me or Sirius. He’s still on probation of sorts. Hahahaha. But I guess I should use him while I’ve got him, let him think he’s making it up to me in small tasks. ;)
     
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  8. Kerri & Tigger

    Kerri & Tigger Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2019
    Hey Krystie! I saw you said you're free-handing. I tried free-handing, and I really stink at it. I think I tend to chicken out and end up scraping / hitting the wrong angle more than poking. Plenty of blood but not in those nice tiny drops, lol. I have better luck with my little lancing device. Sometimes I don't get a poke and have to have more than one go, but I feel a little more "protected" with the gadget. If you don't have one, I think they are cheap? (Mine came with my meter.) It might be worth a try.

    Does Sirius have treats he loves when he gets his pokes? The ragged ears broke my heart too at first.
     
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  9. HelloKrystie

    HelloKrystie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2020
    Hello, Kerri!
    What is the correct angle? I’ve been going straight down. Although, tonight’s pmps I did try to angle it it bit and not jab so hard, and I got it without hurting him so much...I think.

    I have the little device, but his ears are so dark I have a hard time seeing what I’m doing. It seems that his ear hair is particularly dark and thick around the edges. Doesn’t that just figure? Maybe if I can get that area shaved it’ll help. What depth do you use your device at?

    Edited to add: we’ve been trying various low carb treats to no avail. But someone (probably the all-knowing Deb) suggested tuna until we can find something healthier, and he’s crazy for it! It’s certainly helping to prevent him from running away. He still tries, but he’s so interested in the tuna, I can get him to stay pretty close to me. Sometimes I think I’m giving him too much tuna for each test. (Is that a thing? It’s zero carb, so I don’t think it would really effect his testing)
     
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  10. Kerri & Tigger

    Kerri & Tigger Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2019
    Oh gosh, if there IS a right angle....I haven't cracked that code! I think I'm pretty much poking straight down with my gadget, but between holding the ear, smushing a cotton ball behind it, contorting one arm so kitty can't scoot away....I'm just poking! I'm lucky with light colored and not very hairy ears though. (Which is a sentence I never thought I would write....) Mine is set to 3.5 now, but I have a pet meter that just takes a tiny bit of blood. When I have used human meter, I needed it on a 5.

    A side note: I think with the gadget I don't try so hard to get exactly the right spot. I can't really see where I'm poking, anyway. I've kind of figured out how much of the gadget rim needs to "hang off" of the ear for the needle to be on the ear but not far in/close to the little vein. Sometimes I still hit the vein. But no one dies--or even gets very mad at me. Because treats, right?! I am in the same boat with you. I bought ALL the treats. All the freeze-dried everything. Tigger just gave me her best Wink Wink Nudge Nudge side-eye imitation and said are you kidding me?

    She is a fanatic for boiled shrimp. So, yeah, I'm the person at the seafood counter asking for, literally, "a little handful of raw shrimp." Which I boil and freeze and pinch off in tiny pieces. She gets too much of it, I'm sure, but at least it's not mounds of Friskies Party Mix, which I'm pretty sure got us in this spot to start with. I think if tuna gets you through the learning curve, cheers to tuna! And to Sirius. He is loved. I think whatever you poke with, however you're poking, it's trial and error. And after we've been doing this a while, it'll just turn into muscle memory. Here's hoping. :cat:
     
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  11. HelloKrystie

    HelloKrystie Member

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    Jan 26, 2020
    Oh good, so blindly stabbing is ok. Or as ok as it can be. Maybe I’ll give the gadget a go again. My other hesitation about the device it that I rarely can poke just once. So trying to replace the lancet in it after a failed attempt, while keeping Siri-Puss near should be an Olympic sport. Maybe without the actual poking though...

    Oddly enough Sirius doesn’t like shrimp. I’ve tried boiling it, baking it, and giving it to him raw. He has zero interest. He’s such a weirdo. Lol
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  12. JL and Chip

    JL and Chip Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    I’ve been hometesting off and on for 15 years and I always use a lancet device. Mine is a larger, pen shaped device (no longer on the market) but they still make similar ones. I find I can set the device to a fixed setting and then push down as firmly as I want, knowing I don’t have to have a lot of finesse and that the device at that setting won’t poke too hard. I also know where to line up the device on the edge of the ear, which makes first-poke success more likely. I pride myself on being able to medically handle just about anything with animals but I absolutely suck at freehanding, lol. Everyone has their own technique and preferences, you just have to learn what works for you.

    Also, if you’re using a lancet device, I don’t think it’s really necessary to replace the lancet each time you use it. I’ve asked several human diabetics I know and they all laughed and said “never” or “rarely” when I asked how often they replace lancets in their device. I don’t think that’s really a big deal and would definitely not worry about replacing it during the same testing session. Insulin syringes however are a different story and should NOT be reused.
     
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  13. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    I just want to commiserate about the jabbing/poking/stabbing. I read somewhere on this site (probably in a post from Deb!) to go in at a 45 degree angle when free handing, and to hold the beveled edge of the lancet up. Sometimes it's difficult to see the beveled edge since it is so fine, but using the flashlight on my phone helps. If I can get it right, I can often get a nice drop of blood on the first try. Unfortunately that happens less often than I'd like, but I am trusting it will get easier.

    But poor Alex! His ears are so jabbed up right now, and I feel like a total monster. I'm also feeding him tuna because he has never been big on treats. But he is mad for the tuna! So maybe that makes up for it a little bit?
     
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  14. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    1. Neosporin ointment for the ears, to help them heal. Ointment because of the higher oil content, makes it stay in place easier. Not as spreadable as the cream version. Tiniest of dabs, wipe off excess. Don't want any excess on the ear before testing, may affect the BG readings. Better to dab on after the poke, after you have put pressure on the ear to help stop the ear from bruising. Light but firm pressure.

    2. Tuna, fresh shrimp, tiny bits of cheese (try the 4 cheese mexican or italian blend), tiny pieces of pork or ham, cooked ground meat, tiny pieces of fish (sushi or cooked), egg white or yolk raw or cooked. Is there any time that you are cooking or eating and your cat BEGS for a bite? Something that is a pure protein item that your cat loves? My cat Dancer craves rotisserie roasted chicken from the grocery store and will practically "mug" me to get some. "Hand over the chicken and no one will get hurt!"

    3. Treats don't have to be freeze dried or even food. Treats are rewards and can be chin scratches, brushing, talking to your cat and telling them "You were so good, yes you were. I know you don't understand why we are doing this kitty. But we love you and want to make you better." Said with a smile on your face and love in your voice.
     
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  15. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Picture of the beveled edge up.
    [​IMG]


    Ear Care
    Since our kitties must endure so many tests, what are some ways to take care of the ears?
    • Hold a wet, cool baby washcloth on the poke site immediately after the test to prevent bruising.
    • Put Neosporin Ointment (not cream) with Pain Relief on the test sites after each test. It only takes a tiny dab and you can wipe it off before the next test.
    • You can purchase Ledum 30C homeopathic remedy at any health food store. Dissolve one tablet in a small bottle of pure water and then apply one or two drops to each ear every day. Ledum is great for puncture wounds.
    From this great document. Marje and Gracie's Testing and Shooting Tips

    Open the link highlighted in blue above to go read the rest, start at the top of the document and read down.
     
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  16. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    He would have said that to shrimp. That boy never did like shrimp or fresh fish. ;););)
     
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  17. Susan & Claudio

    Susan & Claudio Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    Deb & Wink
    Better to dab on after the poke, after you have put pressure on the ear to help stop the ear from bruising.

    I put a tiny amount on the ear first before poke to help bead up the blood. Otherwise, I can't see the blood on black ears. Should I stop doing that ?
     
  18. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    You do have to recock the lancet device for it to poke a second time. Or take the cap off and use it that way. No adjustable depth when you do that, but easier to hold in arthritic or larger fingers than the tiny lancet alone.

    No need to replace the lancet THAT often. Yes, does get dull after a day or so, and might not poke as well.
    But lancets "for alternate site testing", those 26 to 28 gauge ones, are pretty sturdy. The 30-31 gauge are a bit flimsier and harder to use and get enough blood at the beginning of this sugardance when you are still learning to home test.
     
  19. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    You can use the ointment first, but be sure to wipe off any excess. You don't want to get the test strip IN the ointment.

    Slowly, bring the black spot on the test strip up to the blood drop. So that the test strip "SIPS" up the blood.
    If you put the ointment on before poking for your test, I would not try to "milk the ear" to get the blood drop to form and get bigger. If you are squeezing the ear to get the blood drop, it would be easier to squoosh some of the ointment into the blood. Could give inaccurate readings if blood and ointment are mixed together.

    Shaving tiny spot on ear can help.
    Bright light can help.

    I bought one of those inexpensive clip on lights, clamped it to the towel bar and aimed it at Wink's black ears to see better. Plus, I'm an old lady, start of cataracts and my near eyesight is not the best. Some of those cones and rods you have in your eyes die off as you age.
     
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  20. Susan & Claudio

    Susan & Claudio Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    Deb & Wink

    If you put the ointment on before poking for your test, I would not try to "milk the ear" to get the blood drop to form and get bigger. If you are squeezing the ear to get the blood drop, it would be easier to squoosh some of the ointment into the blood. Could give inaccurate readings if blood and ointment are mixed together.

    I barely put any on. Just enough for the blood not to get lost in the fur. If you touched his ear doubt you would feel any ointment. That's how little I put on. I was afraid that the ointment would skew is test results.

    Plus, I'm an old lady, start of cataracts and my near eyesight is not the best. Some of those cones and rods you have in your eyes die off as you age.

    Feel you on the "old lady" part. Long story shot... I was blind for 5 years. Finally found an ophthalmologist who dx'd the problem. Operated on both eyes now I can see again. That was 18 months ago. Don't know what I would have done if I was still blind & had a diabetic cat.
     
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  21. HelloKrystie

    HelloKrystie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2020
    I’ll have to pay attention to the bevel now. It’s such a struggle, and I’m trying to poke him with a new lancet after every failed attempt. So uncapping a new lancet and checking the bevel before he squirms away is going to be...interesting.

    The tuna seems to be keeping Sirius from totally loathing me, so I’m gonna go ahead and say they definitely make up for it, Bobbie!
     
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  22. HelloKrystie

    HelloKrystie Member

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    Jan 26, 2020
    Oh no, I feel like every time I read something new, I’m finding out I’m doing something else wrong! I also put the Neosporin on before I poke. I read about the Vaseline to help the blood bead after failed attempts losing the blood in Sirius’ furry ears. I thought if I put it on before I tested, instead of the vaseline, it would help the pain and help prevent infection better. Oooh nooo!!! So now all of my readings might not be accurate?!? :banghead::eek::oops:

    Sometimes I catch the blood on my nail, because sometimes the strips won’t sip up the blood. And now I’m guessing it’s because of the Neosporin!
     
  23. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Wipe off the excess, either the Neosporin or vaseline. Flattens the hair, makes it look smoother.

    You could also dab a bit of plain water on the ear edge, Wipe with the edge of a wet washcloth.
    Catching, scooping up the blood on your finger nail is fine.

    My fingernails are way too short to do that, catch the blood on your fingernail trick, from too much gardening.
    Neosporin after poke.
    Wash your hands before getting out the test strips. Clean hands so you don't get any gunky stuff from cooking or eating on the test strip.
     

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