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Canada - Home BG Testing Supplies

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by whiskysmom, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    For those in Canada (I'm in BC), what human blood glucose monitors / strips / lancets / kits do you like to use? Where do you buy them?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2019
    Hi Stephanie. I'm new to forum as well and in SK. I started out with Alphatrak 2 supplies before I found this forum, but like most people in the forum I found the cost of the strips was crazy. I recently switched to Freestyle Lite human glucometer. I was able to find a coupon on line for a free glucometer when purchasing 100 strips ($75.00) and did so at London Drugs. It was recommended to me to have a second glucometer on hand, just in case the first one died. I'm still shopping around for the best price on strips but so far London Drugs is it.

    Here is a link to the free meter. https://www.myfreestyle.com/get-a-free-meter
     
    whiskysmom likes this.
  3. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    A lot of Canadians use the FreeStyle Lite meter. Strips in the $80-90/100 range. I take a 0.3 drop of blood.
    Strips of any kind are expensive in Canada.
    You can save up and use your PC Optimum points to buy strips. Also, if you are a senior or have one close by, you can take advantage of Shoppers Seniors Days.
    If you live close to the border, strips are cheaper in the US. Tagging @Wendy&Neko on this one. She's in British Columbia.

    There is also the Bravo meter. It takes a much larger (0.6) drop of blood. (I found it read higher than the FreeStyle Lite so I stayed with the FreeStyle Lite.)
    The strips for the Bravo meter are $40/100. The downside (other than the larger drop of blood) is that you cannot buy the strips in stores. You have to order online and would always need to keep a back-up of at least 200 strips on hand for emergencies and shipping delays. You cannot run out in the middle of the night during a crisis to get more strips.
    https://diabetesexpress.ca/products/bravo-meter

    Human glucose meters are relatively inexpensive. Like printers and ink, they can get ya in the wallet with the strips. It is good that you are asking and shopping around.
     
    whiskysmom likes this.
  4. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Thank you both so much!

    I imagine lancets are personal preference and much less of an investment if you buy a box and don't like them, but what types do you use and like? Anything to look for considering it's for a cat?
     
  5. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Another place to buy strips is eBay. Find a regular trusted vendor.

    I live close to the border and have a US post box. I bought strips on ADW and had them sent to the Post box. I would buy 300-500 at a time, it saved shipping and meant I only had to visit the post box a few times a year. For a while I had a friend who visited friends/family regularly across the border, and she would get the strips for me too. I loved the eye roll I would get from the border guards when I told them the most expensive item I had was test strips for my diabetic cat. :p

    I never shopped at Shoppers Drug Mart. Their prices are at least 10% higher than anyone else, so collecting points to save 10% seemed pointless. Do shop around. Of all places, my Safeway Pharmacy is the cheapest for diabetic supplies, including insulin, lancets and syringes.

    Once Neko’s ears learned to bleed, I used the Onetouch Delica 33g lancets. It don’t use them to start.
     
    whiskysmom likes this.
  6. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    The link Judy so kindly provided redirected me to the US version of the site, so just in case you're searching, here is a Canadian link for a free "FreeStyle Lite" glucose meter with the purchase of 100 test strips:

    https://www.freestyle.abbott/ca/en/products/lite.html
     
  7. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Got the FreeStyle Lite and just successfully home-tested Whisky's BG for the first time! Well, I coached my husband through it and then he did the actual poke and I helped by feeding Whisky treats and having the monitor ready. Updated the spreadsheet and feeling pretty proud!

    It'll take some getting used to for sure, for Whisky and us, but I'm really glad we at least have the tools to be able to home test. And the $80 we spent on the strips and lancets could save us the $80 for the fructosamine test we were planning to have done in 2 weeks, and keep Whisky safe.

    His BG was 12.8 mmol/L (230 mg/dL) PMPS so then we gave him his dinner and regular insulin dose of 1.5 units and will keep testing and also try to get a curve done over the weekend.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
  8. Chris Ca

    Chris Ca New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2019
    Hello from Toronto!
    We also just switched to the Freestyle Lite. The AlphaTrak strips were going to bankrupt us!! Even the lancets were pricey, $45/100 at the vet and $13/100 at shoppers.

    One other way to save that we just learned is that in Canada, Insulin does not require a prescription! We accidentally dropped the vial last night and it smashed. Ran to shoppers and was able to get one OTC for only $79 CAD. We paid the vet $140-ish for the exact same vial.
     
    whiskysmom likes this.
  9. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2019
    I was really fortunate with my vet. He sent the receptionist to the Safeway Pharmacy to pick it up my first vial and I paid the vet exactly what the pharmacy charged him.

    I believe I read that the AlphaTrak 2 strips were good to use when the cat is really low - if someone could confirm that for me that would be good. I'm a little sleep deprived and I'm not sure if I actually read that, or I'm just making it up! lol
     
  10. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2019
    Whoops... sorry about that. Glad you were able to find the Canadian site. When I bought the strips and received the free glucometer, the store didn't even take the coupon!
     
    whiskysmom likes this.
  11. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks @Chris Ca - good to know about the insulin! We're currently on the Prozinc specifically for vet use, but I could ask my vet about options that could be available at human pharmacies.

    That's so awesome about your vet @Judy and Freckles - nice when they aren't trying to earn a buck when there are other options. Love that honestly in a vet! And no problem about the link at all. They asked me for my medical card and if I had insurance coverage, and I said it was for my cat and then they accepted the coupon haha!

    Our first test was relatively successful, but second test was not. For the first test my husband did the poking and I was feeding Whisky treats, and although he poked deeper than necessary, we got the blood and all was good. We showered Whisky with pats and some treats and praise. For the second time, I was doing it alone and he was laying on the bed where we normally do his shots. I poked him once and he flinched, but no blood, so I tried a second time and he flinched, and again no blood. So I gave him treats and pet him and stopped there as I don't want to traumatize him. Now today when I did his insulin shot on the bed, he flinched twice before I was able to do it successfully, so I think he was a bit miffed at me. Normally he is a champ with his insulin shots - I think he actually looks forward to them because he knows he gets attention and a treat. So trying to balance

    Both times we tried, we used the lancet freehand. I thought it would be more accurate in poking that teensy area without trying to hit the big vein, and I read about holding it at 45 degrees so it doesn't go deeper than needed. But I think doing it freehand means I do it slower than the lancet device and my depth may not be correct - and slower means he flinches before I'm able to get a good enough poke. I'm wondering if next time I should try with the lancet device and hopefully have more success in being able to get blood.

    What works for you?
     
  12. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2019
    Since the lancet device I have is solid plastic, I can’t see the lancet tip to aim properly, plus I felt I needed to hold the device firm against the ear which Freckles didn’t like. She was also curious what this thing was by her ear. When I freehand, I can use a finger to rub inside of her ear, which she loves, at the same time of pricking her ear.
     
    whiskysmom likes this.
  13. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks @Judy and Freckles - that makes a lot of sense!

    Whisky doesn't love us touching his ears so that's been a challenge. We just tried again unsuccessfully. He had been sleeping so his ears seemed pretty warm so we thought we'd try. My husband wanted to try the lancet device today. It has levels 1-4 so we tried level 2. It didn't seem to puncture his ear as he didn't flinch, so we set it to level 3 and tried again. It definitely poked him that time, as he flinched, but sadly no blood. We did have a little vaseline on his ear to encourage pooling and we tried to massage it to get some blood but no luck getting any of the red stuff out. We're using 28 gauge lancets right now.

    So we gave him lots of pats and a treat and will take a break and try again in a few hours. Hopefully will have more success soon, fingers crossed!
     
  14. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    Lancing devices are made for fleshy body areas like finger tips. You an try taking the cap off the lancing device so you can see the lancet and use it that way for ears that are just too flimsy and thin to be properly poked with the cap on without a lot of pressure.
     
    whiskysmom likes this.
  15. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks @MrWorfMen's Mom - very good to know!

    Just got a successful PMPS test - PHEWF! Took me holding him and my husband doing the poke, but we gave him pats and treats after, immediately followed by his dinner, so hopefully he starts getting used to it (and us too). Yay for progress!!

    Will try to get some additional readings over the weekend, including mid-cycle.
     
    Judy and Freckles likes this.
  16. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    In Ontario you don't need a script to buy syringes. I never understood the "dirty needle" thing, you can afford Heroin but don't have 30 cents for a new syringe?
    My vet takes sharpies in almost any container.
    And I can see two Timmys from my bedroom window, eh!
     
  17. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Right?! Syringes and lancets are the least of our costs.

    Our vet had a note that they will take sharps free so long as it's in a sharps container or if it's in a container where they can easily empty it into their disposal container with minimal handling. Makes sense to me! The syringes we're buying from the vet are the same price as the pharmacy so I just get them wherever is convenient at the time.

    2 Timmys from your bedroom window?! How could you choose which to go to? haha!
     
  18. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    All the pharmacies I dealt with in BC give you a free sharps container when you buy syringes from them. And will take the full one and give you a new free empty one.
     
    whiskysmom likes this.
  19. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2019
    Good to know. I will ask next time I'm there. Thanks Wendy.
     
  20. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2019
    I noticed with the FreeStyle Lite strips that if there was a very small drop of blood, the glucometer read it (it beeped) but the reading was lower than the reading I took immediately following with a larger drop of blood. Have others experienced this too?
     
  21. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    This possibly JUST happened to us about an hour ago with the FreeStyle Lite. Not certain but it's very possible.

    We did his PMPS and it sucked up a very small amount of blood and beeped and read 10.4. I was surprised because his mid-cycle readings were 13.9 (+4) and 15 (+7) so I was surprised to see it that low. I wasn't sure of the protocol because we just started testing, so I fed him, as we're trying to teach him that test = meal/snack. And then someone recommended that I test him again quickly before the food took much effect. That test we got more blood on the strip and it was 12.8. I'm not sure if the food started to kick in or if the 15 minutes between tests made a difference, but it's something I'll keep an eye on for sure.

    We see our vet next week so I'm planning to take the monitor with us and ask if we can compare readings with his monitor.
     
  22. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2019

    This I just read in another post - something to keep in mind when comparing pet monitors and human monitors.

    "AlphaTrak strips are outrageously expensive which is why a lot of people use a human meter instead. The protocols on this board were also written using a meter, so that’s another benefit to using one! The only difference between a human meter and a pet one (besides the cost) is that on a pet meter the ideal BG range is 68-150, while on a human meter it’s 50-120"

    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/i-need-help-again-test-strips-question.219917/
     
    Crista & Ming likes this.
  23. Crista & Ming

    Crista & Ming Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2018
    Hi! Also from BC.

    I test a lot and for a while I used the OneTouch Ultra 2. Strips were $75 for 100. And I would go through 100 every 2-3 weeks. That was getting hard on my wallet, even with insurance covering 80% of it.

    So I switched to OneDrop. It’s a subscription service and has an option for unlimited strips. It also takes a much smaller blood sample than my previous meter. The only downside is, it can take a while for things to come into the mail so I need to order strips ahead of time. But they’re great and will work with you if you have any issues.

    You can if you’d like but most likely two things will happen: 1) the reading will be much higher and/or vastly different from your meter, 2) your vet may convince you to get the pet meter because they’re not familiar with human meters and how they work in comparison in felines.

    I’d do it for curiosity sake but I wouldn’t read too much into how different the meter at the vet is vs. the one you’re using now. The TRUE BG test is results from a lab, even in humans.

    Pet meters typically read higher than human meters. Pet meters are also “newer” than human meters. Vets used to just use human meters to do spot checks of patients (I found an old accucheck meter while going through old stuff at my work - I work at a vet hospital).

    Even within our human meters, there is a 20% variance. So you won’t always get the same reading even with the same droplet of blood. As long as it’s within 20% of each other, it’s considered accurate. This is especially jarring when BSL are high. You’ll get vastly different readings if Whisky’s numbers are in the 20s. But when numbers are low, you shouldn’t see too much variance.

    Once when Ming was low and had a BSL of 2, the meter read 2 mmol/L consistently twice. My other meter also read 2. That’s when it counts and when it should be important. A high number is high no matter the value.

    In general, what’s important is how kitty is trending. We want to see the direction kitty is heading. The other time that accuracy is important is when kitty is low. We want to know how low kitty is if they’re low so we can avoid a hypoglycaemic episode.

    I hope that made sense! Comparing meters can make you go crazy. I did that even though I knew it would. I would only do it out of curiosity and not fret over how this meter has this much difference compared to another. In the end, you’re looking for trends and you’re watching for lows.
     
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  24. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks @Crista & Ming - that makes a lot of sense! And thanks for the tip about the OneDrop strips being more affordable!
     
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