New to Thread - Seeking Advice for Home Testing

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by Beans, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. Beans

    Beans New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Hi!

    I'm Jenna, and am here seeking support in helping my adorable feline friend, Tommy, stay healthy. Tommy is 5 years old, and was diagnosed with diabetes in March of this year. My boyfriend, Jeremy, and I have been giving Tommy 2 units of ProZinc twice a day. Due to Tommy's young age, we've heard that his chances of remission are a bit greater than other diabetic cats; this has brought us to a deep desire to diligently stay on top of his care.

    Recently, we had a falling out with our previous vet. Tommy is the biggest snuggle-bug around, but when going to the vet for glucose curves, he is a different cat (e.g. growling, hissing, scratching, biting...) We expressed our desire to monitor Tommy at home, and regularly call in with the numbers (all of this in addition to glucose curves periodically at the vet). Our vet, however, was adamantly against home testing and claimed we were trying to kill Tommy by doing this. She stated that home glucose monitoring was irresponsible and wanted to discharge Tommy upon hearing this. She also refused to sell us insulin until we went in for another glucose curve.

    Long story short, we switched to a different vet who shares our philosophies on Tommy's care. So, we are ready to get a glucometer, lancets, test strips... the whole shebang. I cared for my diabetic grandmother while she was alive, and am comfortable with using all of the equipment. Tommy is wonderful with injections, so our hope is that he will act similarly for his glucose monitoring.

    If you have a strong preference for a particular glucometer, please share! We are willing to put in the $ needed to ensure that the results are accurate... but are hoping for something that is reasonable.

    Thanks, guys!


    A typical day in the life of Tommy:
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  2. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Omg I LOVE Tommy. He's the twin of my recently passed away boy Zimmy (not diabetic).


    Good call ditching that first vet! I have to question a vets motives when they don't want a person to home test. Either they are control freaks or money hungry so you will keep bringing the cat in for tests.


    OK well if the money is not an issue then the Alphatrak 2 pet meter is the way to go. It's the same meter your vet most likely uses. The strips are pricy though at about $50 for 50 strips. This is the meter I use.... Expect to pay about $150/month with this meter. Now keep in mind once I started home testing it eliminated a the trips to the vet for curves so I considered it a wash.

    Most on the board use a human meter such as the relion micro or confirm meter because the sample size is as small as an Alphatrak, but the strips are a third the price at $36/100. Human meters run lower than pet meters, especially at higher numbers, but both types of meters will tell you if your cat is high or low.

    Normal for a pet meter is 68-150, and normal for a human meter is 50-120.

    You'll also want to buy 28 gauge lancets, neosporin, and cotton Rounds.

    I have a video in my signature showing how I test my cat CC.

    Aim for the sweet spot.

    IMG_3612.JPG
     
  3. FurBabiesMama

    FurBabiesMama Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Welcome, Jenna and Tommy! He is a cutie. I too fired a vet after she recommended against home testing. She said it would 'damage the animal/human bond' and that she did not want me 'focusing on the numbers'. What a load of crap. To me, that was a vivid display of ignorance and a big flashing sign for us to run away fast. I am glad to hear you found a vet that supports home monitoring. How can you possibly manage glucose levels if you do not know what they are?!

    I, like Janet, prefer the AlphaTRAK2. I want the most accurate, vet-matching numbers I can get. If ongoing cost of the strips is going to be of concern for you, however, a lot of people on here (I think most) use human meters.

    Be sure to post future questions on the Main Health Forum.
     
  4. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Welcome to you and adorable Tommy! :) Home testing is the best way to follow his progress and keep him safe. You have a good pro-testing mindset and that will help you over any bumps in the road if they happen.
     
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  5. Beans

    Beans New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Thank you for your advice! I've been leaning towards the AlphaTrak, my new vet heavily recommends it. Your video and spreadsheet are both great; super helpful for a newbie like me! Also, CC is completely adorable :)
     
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  6. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    I have the AT meter and it's excellent. However, I would have bankrupted myself trying to keep up with the cost of its test strips. They're $2 each here in Canada!!
     
  7. Beans

    Beans New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Thank you! It's comforting to hear that others have had similar experiences with un-supportive vets... I felt totally vilified during the whole experience, when all I want is what's best for Tommy. It was such a welcome change going to the new vet who supports home testing and didn't treat me like I was abusing him.

    Glad to hear you also recommend the AlphaTRAK2, we're likely going to go with that one. It is pricey... but I think the accuracy is likely worth that extra cost.

    Take care :)
     
  8. Beans

    Beans New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Oh boy! So, what do you use now instead?

    We are looking to save money wherever possible, but don't want to compromise the quality of Tommy's care. Tommy gets Weruva canned food and ProZinc, both of which add up quickly. Our new vet mentioned that ProZinc is twice as expensive as what she typically prescribes diabetic cats. She said that since he has been on it for the duration of his diabetes, it would be hard to transition him to a different insulin.
     
  9. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Many people in the US buy a ReliOn meter, a Walmart house brand. The Micro and Confirm models take only a tiny blood drop per test, much like the AT meter. The strips are much cheaper and available any time. AT strips are usually purchased online or from the vet so you have to plan on having a stockpile at home. If Tommy decides to drop low you can go through many strips while monitoring him. Some people get around the vet issue by having an AT meter to do curves at home for the vet and they use a human meter for day to day testing. Human meters all read lower than pet meters but the difference is larger at high BGs and smaller at low BGs. So long as you know the "time to be vigilant" number for your meter, you can use either. It's 50 or lower on a human meter and 68 or lower on a pet meter.

    ProZinc is a good insulin for cats but it is expensive. Many cats do well on a human insulin, Lantus. It's very expensive in the US so many people there order from a Canadian pharmacy, Mark's Marine Pharmacy in Vancouver, British Columbia. It's a more concentrated insulin than ProZinc. It's a U100 insulin (100 units of insulin per mL) versus ProZinc which is U40 (40 units per mL) so you use it up more slowly. We can give you more info on that if you want it.

    It's definitely possible to switch insulins even if your kitty has been on one for quite a while. Many of us here have done it. I switched my guy to Lantus from ProZinc after he'd been on ProZinc for 9 months. He's now been on Lantus for 6 months.

    Re food: many of us here feed Friskies or Fancy Feast pate style canned food and FD kitties can do just fine on those. Much easier on the wallet too.
     
  10. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Amazon has a good price for the starter kit... But order more strips right away. Figure you will need at least 4-5 a day. Adwdiabetes.com has the best price on the strips because they always have 5% or $5 off coupon codes (look on Retailmenot.com for the codes).
     
  11. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Are you in the US, Canada, or somewhere else?
     
  12. Yong

    Yong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Welcome Jenna and Tommy! I'm a bit late to the welcoming party due to an injury :cat:
     

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