Relion Confirm Meter/test strips

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by NancyJac, Sep 13, 2013.

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  1. NancyJac

    NancyJac Member

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    Aug 25, 2013
    I bought one but am very disappointed in the product. Although it claims to require only the same amount of blood as the AlphaTrak, that just isn't true. Twice now I have tried to use it and got an E-7 error meaning not enough blood. The directions say the entire marked area at the end of the test strip needs to be filled with blood and this is a pretty large area. Hairy just doesn't give up that much blood. So after spending $35 for the cheap meter and test strips, it looks like I'm going to have to spend another $50 getting more test strips for the AlphaTrak.
     
  2. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Just checking, because you are probably doing this - you are touching the short edge of the test strip to the blood droplet so it can sip the blood, correct?

    Perhaps the batch of strips is defective?

    (I seldom had that problem with testing Spitzer using the Confirm/Glucocard 01)
     
  3. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    The Alphatrak test strips have those little indent black spots on the long sides of the test strip, where the blood gets sipped up.

    The Relion Confirm test strips have the spots at the short tip of the strip, in the middle.

    This was one of the biggest differences I had when switching between the 2 meters, was the different areas of the test strip where the blood drop gets sipped up by capillary action. I wasted a few test strips, touching the wrong part of the test strip to the tiny blood drop. ohmygod_smile

    I also found it easier to angle the test strip and barely touch it to the drop to get the test strip to do it's sipping action.

    Could this be what is happening?
     
  4. NancyJac

    NancyJac Member

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    Aug 25, 2013
    I am using the center area at the end of the test strip as the directions indicate. The instructions that came with the test strips say "Ensure that enough blood is applied to fill the check window" and the accompanying drawing shows that the blood needs to cover the whole marked area at the end of the strip. The other thing that I hate is that it beeps as soon as any amount of blood makes contact but then it doesn't tell you there isn't enough blood for 7 seconds, meaning that by then it is too late to try to add more blood and I would have to repeatedly start all over again. At this point it seems totally worthless.
     
  5. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    clarification/check:
    The 'window' is actually a little, flat straw open at the end. Tthe end of the strip sips up the blood to fill the window, you don't put it on the window.
     
  6. KPassa

    KPassa Well-Known Member

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    Oct 23, 2012
    It might be you're getting too much blood on it, too. Try testing yourself with it to see the sippy action. It really requires a microscopic drop and whenever I switch from my Prime (requires more blood) to my Nano (same as the Confirm), I get those same errors the first few times because I forget and give it too much blood.
     
  7. The Confirm requires the same amount of blood as the Alpha Track 2 does. I use the Micro by Relion, but it uses the same strips as the Confirm. All I used to do is touch the very edge of the blood drop to the end of the strip, and let it sip up the strip until I got the "beep". I did experience the "E7" error a couple of times, but most times when I thought "no way is that drop big enough", the meter gave me a good reading.

    I couldn't find a video for the Confirm, but here's one for the Ultima. Same process, and you can see at the 1:50 mark how the blood gets sipped up onto the strip.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTk4Dn8vOqo And that's a pretty tiny blood droplet.
     
  8. NancyJac

    NancyJac Member

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    Aug 25, 2013
    Yes I am putting the end of the strip against his ear. The only thing I am doing differently is putting the center of the end of the strip to his ear rather than the corner of the end of the strip as I do with the AlphaTrak strips.

    I doubt very seriously that I am getting too much blood, but if I am, that is just one more thing I don't like about this meter. The error message I get specifically means not enough blood, so to give that error message when there is too much blood just wouldn't make any sense.

    I understand the sipping action. What is very frustrating about this meter is that it beeps regardless of whether there is enough blood, too much blood, or not enough blood. And then 7 seconds later i get the error message that there was not enough blood. By then, there is no more blood to be gotten from his ear and the blood on the test strip has already dried up so I can't add more blood to it anyway. So it means starting all over again with a new lancet, poking Hairy again, using another test strip, only to get the same error message again, and then having to do it all a third time using the AlphaTrak to get any reading at all, and by then Hairy is so stressed the reading on the AlphaTrak is way high and probably no at all accurate in terms of the effect of the insulin on his BG.

    I ordered some more of the AlphaTrak strips tonight, but will probably be a week before I get them, so may have to skip testing all together for a couple of days. That is my fault. I should not have assumed that the Relion meter would work and should have tried it before I was almost out of the AlphaTrak strips. I don't like having to pay that much for the test strips, but if the cheaper ones don't work, then they are an even worse value.

    edited to add: Another difference is that the AlphaTrak doesn't beep until it has a enough blood. That has happened a couple of times but I was able to milk the poke and reapply the same test strip to get enough blood, without having to repoke and use a second lancet and second test strip an d start all over again.
     
  9. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    You can't get too much blood. The strip sucks up blood by capillary action. You can't overfill a strip. Are you getting any foreign material on the end of the strip where it sucks in the blood? Like are you touch that are? That can interfere with sucking in the blood. Some caretakers like myself use a little vaseline on fingers and rug the ear to get blood to bead up on the ear instead of gong into the fur. If you get any vaseline on the end of the strip that will hinder the strip sucking up the blood.
     
  10. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Contact Relion's customer support. It may be possible that you just have a bad batch of strips. They are very helpful. Just let them think that you are testing yourself and not a cat. Most likely they will replace either the meter or strips.
     
  11. RobinCot

    RobinCot Well-Known Member

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    May 5, 2013
    So sorry you are having problems with the Relion Confirm. I have one and love that it only takes a small amount of blood. I got the E-7 error reading when I first got the meter too. It is frustrating, I know. It only takes a drop the size of a pin head so if the ear wasn't warm enough I would poke twice in the same area. Now the ear bleeds with hardly any poke.

    I just wonder if you got a bad batch of test strips.
     
  12. NancyJac

    NancyJac Member

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    Aug 25, 2013
    For those of you that like and recommend the Relion, have you ever used an AlphaTrak for comparison? Several of you have mentioned getting errors, issues with not waiting for something, or waiting too long, etc. It is certainly hard to beat the price, but if it screws up so often then it is still not a very good value.
     
  13. Cleo & Jane (GA)

    Cleo & Jane (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Apr 6, 2013
    Hi Nancy,

    I also posted on your other thread. I have never gotten the E7 error, that is why I think your meter is defective. I admit the meter feels cheaply made, and I had my doubts about it at first, but it has held up wonderfully for me, and I love how little blood it requires compared to my backup Contour meter.

    Jane
     
  14. KPassa

    KPassa Well-Known Member

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    Oct 23, 2012
    There is a slight learning curve when switching between meters because every meter is slightly different in some way from the way the test strips are inserted to how much blood is required to how it sips up the blood to how long it takes to register the strips to how long it takes to read the blood sample. I'll usually test myself a couple of times first to familiarize myself with how the meter responds, even if it's a meter I use regularly (but with less frequency).
     
  15. Moretakitty

    Moretakitty Member

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    May 21, 2013
    While I have not used the AlphaTrek, I have used another meter, the Onetouch ultra 2. The Onetouch took a lot more blood and cost me a lot more money, so switching was ideal for me.
    I have not had any issues with the Relion Confirm. I may have gotten the error message about 3 times, but that's in about 1 of 50 and I knew that I was going to get the error message, kitty moved his head or we were having a bad blood draw day.
     
  16. RobinCot

    RobinCot Well-Known Member

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    May 5, 2013
    I agree with KPassa. I attribute my errors in the beginning to be caused of my own learning curve - not the meter. I also started on the One Touch Ultra and could never get enough blood to please that machine. Get the meter you are most comfortable with and stick with it. If you can afford the more expensive re=stock then go for it. For some of us though, the Relion meters are a blessing to tight budgets and I don't doubt their accuracy.
     
  17. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Nancy,

    I used both the Alphatrak and the Relion Confirm, side by side, on the same blood drop for a couple of weeks. Rarely got an error of any kind with either meter.

    I think I only ever got 3 or 4 errors total in all the time I tested. It was usually because I had only put the strip part way in, sipped the blood and only then remembered to push the strip all the way in. ohmygod_smile The meter thought I was trying to use a strip that had already been used.

    According to the Relion Confirm User Manual I found online, and E-7 error code can mean
    Either way, you need to get more blood and use a new test strip.
     
  18. NancyJac

    NancyJac Member

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    Aug 25, 2013
    Well on the 7th try, I finally got enough blood for the Relion meter and even had enough left to test with the AlphaTrak from the same poke. Didn't do anything different than the previous 6 times, it just so happened that this time Hairy gave up a bit more blood than he usually does. Still not liking the Relion meter, but at least now I know it might actually work as an emergency back up when I need it which I guess I do right now since I only have 2 AlphaTrak test strips left and I probably won't get the ones I ordered until mid-week.

    The PMPS reading on the Relion was 432 and from the same blood sample 514 on the AlphaTrak, so the Relion measures about 19% lower which is about what I was expecting.
     
  19. Nancy,
    If you are okay with the cost of the strips for the AT meter, then my advice is to just stay with it. To me, it sounds like you might have gotten a "lemon" with the Confirm.

    Bottom line? It doesn't matter what meter you use. The only thing that matters is that you have faith in what the meter is telling you. And if the AT gives you that feeling, by all means, stay with it.

    A meter is nothing more than a tool. Probably the most important tool available to any of us the successfully manage this condition. But that's all it is, a tool.

    The "pet specific" meters are no better or worse than the human ones are. People using human meters use "one set of numbers" and "pet meter" users go by another set of numbers. But anyone, even the world's greatest vet, who says that a human meter can't be used just as effectively for home testing BGs in a cat, is simply wrong. So is anyone who might insist that human meters work best. Every meter, regardless of cost, has the same "allowable variance" of +/- 20%. That's as accurate as they need to be to meet government standards.

    No matter which meter one uses, you can take a single (large) drop of blood, use that one drop to do three or four tests with the same meter within a minute or two, and you're going to get 4 different readings. They won't have anything to do with how much blood is sucked up the strip, how stressed the cat is, or anything....other than the fact that no meter is really that accurate. You can have 4 readings off by a wide range from each other, and all the numbers would fall within that 20% variance.

    The only numbers that really matter, that should cause you concern are the low numbers, no matter what meter you use. Like "close to hypo" low. On your meter, that line is at 80. Below that, is technically "hypoglycemic". At the other end of the spectrum, whether a cat is at 200, 300, or 600, using Lantus, you're going to give a shot. Accuracy doesn't really mean much on high numbers.

    Is your vet okay with "one a day tests"? I believe he is? As the President of the AAFP, that would mean that his clinic is AAHA certified, correct? And I would assume given that, that he uses the AAHA guidelines for feline diabetes management.
    http://www.aahanet.org/PublicDocuments/AAHADiabetesGuidelines.pdf
    There's 3 pages in those guidelines that discuss home testing once insulin is started (pages 218-220). The minimum requirement is to test between +6 and +8, and the dosage is evaluated based on that data collected over time. They also recommend either more frequent testing, or they advise a curve done at least once every two weeks, if not at home, then at the clinic. Is that your vet's plan?

    You'll notice that the AAHA guidelines are a lot less aggressive in some ways than to the suggested methods we use here. Less testing for sure. But they are also more aggressive when it comes to adjustments of dose, suggesting increases of .5 or even 1.0u at a time. In general, it seems as if your vet is using the AAHA guidelines rather than any "protocol" we might follow.
     
  20. Given the allowable variance I mentioned, and the fact that the AT would by nature "read higher", the "real" BG value is probably somewhere in between those two numbers.

    Glad you were able to get a successful test with the Relion, because it's always good to have a backup meter in case a battery dies or you run out of strips.
     
  21. NancyJac

    NancyJac Member

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    Aug 25, 2013
    Is my vet ok with once a day testing? Well, relative to what? He is more ok with it than no testing. And if I only test once a day, his preference is mid cycle. I have varied the test based on suggestions from people here, not my vet. He also doesn't go only by the numbers, he goes by changes in symptoms. In spite of the many, many times this has come up over and over again, it always seems to come back to the numbers here and the frequency of testing and how vets don't have a clue. I'm sorry but I'm just not on that bandwagon. I've worked as a vet tech and surgical assistant with several vets and they actually do know a thing or two, even about feline diabetes. I've received a lot of useful information from this site, but once again I'm feeling as though I have to constantly swim up stream to participate. Just because my way doesn't match your way doesn't have to make one of us wrong.
     
  22. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    We understand your feelings, but you must realize that many of us here have been caring for diabetic cats for years. Because of this, many of us have also adopted cats knowing they are diabetic. What I am trying to point out is that we have a lot of experienced people on this board when it comes to feline diabetes. Also, we have several members that are vets.

    Our recommendation is to test before every shot. The routine we suggest is test, feed then shoot. By testing before every shot, you know it is safe to give insulin. It is better to skip a shot because your cat's BG level is too low to shoot than risk your cat from becoming hypoglycemic. Just think of it this way, if your cat was your child, would you give him insulin without knowing it is safe? You cannot just go by your cat's symptoms to know if it is safe to give insulin. My own personal experience, every one of my four diabetic cats would have a low BG reading about once a week. Had I not tested before every shot, I would have given insulin and could have cause hypoglycemia.

    There are a lot of vets that do not have a lot of experience for the day to day care of a diabetic cat. But there are also lots of vets that do keep up with the latest information in feline diabetes. We are not bashing vets, but we have seen many people come here that have had bad experiences with vets that do not really know how to properly care for a diabetic cat. We only want you to provide the best care that you can for your cat. But how you choose to care for him is your choice. We can only give you recommendations base on our experience.

    The AlphaTrak is a good meter and so is the Relion meter. As I said before, it is possible that you have a bad batch of strips or even a bad meter. It does not happen often, but it can happen. I have been using Relion meters for years and for 3 diabetic cats. I also use it for my own care. There have been a few occasions when I have had to contact Relion, mainly because one of the cats knocked it off of the counter and it broke. Their customer service department is very helpful and most likely they will replace the meter and/or strips at no charge to you. The cost of the Relion meter & strips are much less than the AlphaTrak, plus it is easier to get strips. Also, in past years, it was also a Consumer Reports Best Buy. Because many people that come to this board may not have a lot of extra money, that is another reason we recommend it.
     
  23. Nancy, unfortunately you have become extremely hypersensitive to anyone who happens to use the word "test". Go back are read exactly what I said. I did in no way criticize your vet, or you, for not testing enough. I asked if he was okay with 1 a day tests. I also linked to the AAHA guidelines to show you that the AAHA recommends exactly what your vet advised. One test per day, around nadir. I was actually complimenting your vet for seeming to follow the AAHA guidelines, which is exactly what I would expect him to do if he runs an AAHA accredited clinic.

    But, whether you want to hear it or not, I don't care any more. Neither you, nor your vet, nor any vet in the world can conclusively say that the dose of insulin (no matter what dose it is) is too high, too low, or just right, based on one test per day. So if you aren't going to run a curve, or your vet isn't going to run a curve, at least once or twice a month, then the likelihood of you ever finding the right dose is zero. Testing at nadir might just save your cat's life. Because if you happen to catch a 50, you might be able to avert a clinical hypoglycemic event. But it is not going to tell you if Hairy needs more, or less, insulin. Period.

    Every high number you see, no matter when it happens in the cycle, can be due to a dose that is already too high. Or too low. With one test a day, all you, or he, can do is guess. I understand quite clearly that you will not, or can not, test more than once a day. But somebody has to at some point run a curve on Hairy. Regularly. That is not intended as criticism.

    At some point, you're going to have to accept that the people here are not trying to make you feel like you're "failing" in some way. We aren't criticizing. We're trying to save your cat's life. No matter how many times we try to help, it seems like you don't want to hear what we are trying to tell you. Not just about "how many times a day you should test" either. Whether it's testing, or meters, or whatever else people suggest, you resist. Well, I am not the President of the AAFP, and I don't help run a cat sanctuary. But I do know more about managing feline diabetes safely, at home, than both your vet and you combined. If you don't want to believe that, that's your choice. I care more about Hairy that I do about your feelings.

    I'm done. I wish the best for Hairy, because for me, it's about the cat.
     
  24. MiloMistyMax

    MiloMistyMax Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    I don't know how different the Relion Confirm is from the Relion Micro...I think someone said they use the same strips but I had a hard time switching to the Micro from the Alphatrak as well. They claimed to use the same exact blood amounts but yet I couldn't get it to work. It errored strip after strip and I was crying my brains out. I felt so defeated. I think I just wasn't very good at getting blood at the time but I gave up for a bit and went back to the Alphatrak. I even asked my vet to show me and he couldn't do it. Looking back he was doing it all wrong. He tried getting blood in the middle of the ear and right from the vein. Vets....anyways I decided to try again after reading posts on here and I finally got the hang of it. I ditched the Alphatrak for good and I was able to return the horribly overpriced strips I bought from my vet.
     
  25. Barb & Mr. Frog

    Barb & Mr. Frog Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    When I first started (I use the relion confirm) I got f-7 errors frequently, I am pretty sure it was because I wasn't getting the blood in quick enough, basically you want to angle the meter tip to suck up the whole amount in one smooth motion, if you have to manipulate it after the initial 'suck' it seems to give the error. Hope that helps. (I also recall reading at some point that someone had issues with getting errors with too much blood, 'flooding' the strip) Of course.. I guess there is always the possibility that my first box was faulty too *shrug* haven't had the problem at all recently tho.
     
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