We all seem to get wrapped around managing FD and the numbers and foods, etc. When new members join, we may overlook some of the tips we've come to employ for testing and shooting. We assume that by the time a member has gotten to Lantus Land, they are home testing since they should be starting off in Health. But, even in Health, sometimes the little tips are not conveyed due simply to the amount of info being dumped quickly on a new member. An important resource for new and existing members is Hometesting Links and Tips. Testing We all know the basics: Warm the ear with a rice sock or a warm washcloth wrapped in a plastic bag. Either freehand or use a lancing device; new members usually start with a larger gauge lancet such as 28g or 29g until the ear learns to bleed; then progress to a 31g or 33g which are finer. Be sure to poke in the "sweet spot" and not the major vein that runs along the length of the ear. Poking the vein will not only hurt, but will result in a lot of blood. The sweet spot is on the edge of the ear. But did you also know there is a particular way for the lancet to be used? It has one side that is bevelled so the sharpest part goes in first, if used correctly. In the photo below, you can see the lancet is angled. When you poke the ear, it should be held in the position shown below so the longest side of it is on the bottom. Lancets should only be used once to ensure they are at their sharpest. 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. Shooting We all have our own techniques for shooting but just a few thoughts and others may bring some of their ideas in as well. Injection sites: You can shoot the scruff, side of chest, side of belly, side of flank....wherever your kitty is comfortable and you have the least chance of doing a fur shot. Site Rotation It's actually a great idea to rotate sites in order to prevent development of a lipoma or scar tissue. A lipoma is just a thickened area of fatty cells right under the skin. If you shoot in the same place repeatedly and your kitty develops one, they often will go away on their own if you switch to another site. However, if you change injection sites every day (if possible), there is a much decreased chance in developing either a lipoma or scar tissue. Both of these can affect absorption negatively. If your cat prefers scruff shots only, you can shoot one side in the morning and the other side at night; you can also move the scruff site so the first day, you shoot at the inner scruff on one side, the next day, the middle scruff, and the third day, the outer part of the scruff. Or, if kitty is tolerant of any injection sites, you can shoot one side in the mornings and shoot the scruff the first day, the chest the next, the flank the third day. In the evenings, you can shoot the other side of the kitty but in the same order. Absorption Rates Theoretically, shots absorb slower when given in the scruff area as opposed to the chest, belly, or flank. This does not mean the BG numbers will be different. It just affects the absorption rate....faster or slower. But, ECID and you can keep track of where you shoot and see if the absorption rates vary for your kitty depending on shot site. Method of Shooting Some members choose to "tent" the skin to shoot. They raise the fur to form a "tent" and then shoot into the base of the tent. Another technique, which might help more in decreasing fur shots, is the "roll" method. In this method, you lift the fur and skin with your non-shooting hand, and then roll your hand back so the back of your hand faces the kitty's head. This opens up a nice bit of skin that you can clearly see. It's important that you lift and then roll so you are guaranteed of shooting into the subcutaneous layer. The photo below illustrates how well you can see the skin when you lift and roll so that you know you are not shooting into fur as you might with the tent method. Ready, Set, Shoot! When you are ready to inject, be sure the syringe is parallel to the spine (edited to add) at a 45 degree angle and the bevel is up so the sharpest point slides in first. The photo below shows the bevel up. Never use an insulin syringe more than once as the needle quickly degrades, loses it's sharpness, and multiple use poses the risk of contamination and infection. Hopefully these ideas will facilitate the testing/shooting process for you especially if you are new to FD.