Using Freestyle Lite test strips with Alphatrak meter

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by ryanms3030, Feb 6, 2013.

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  1. ryanms3030

    ryanms3030 Member

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    Jan 22, 2013
    I recently found out that Freestyle lite strips work with my Alphatrak meter and cost about half the price. My question for anyone using this combination is which number do you input on the meter? Do you use the number off the Freestyle box or stick with the one from Alphatrak strips.

    My AT strips has 16 and FS are 11 and so far I have been using 11 while I use the FS strips. For a recent check I used both strips and got 310 with the FS and 356 with the AT.
     
  2. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Track your data and see.
    Add a page to your spreadsheet and put in a column for your option of strip and code, then use the same blood sample with different selections and record your results.
    It may work in one range and not another.

    ... Or switch to a human glucometer such as the ReliOn Prime which is much less expensive and works just fine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  3. ryanms3030

    ryanms3030 Member

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    Jan 22, 2013
    If I switch to a human one, will the results be in the same range? Right now I shoot for 100-150 on the Alphatrak as being optimum. Would it be the same with a human or will the results be different?
     
  4. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    2/6/2016
    You'd be shooting for roughly 30 points lower, or 70 - 120, at the low end. Note that the folks doing Lantus Tight Regulation, aim for as low as 50.

    Be sure to put what meter you are using in your signature block so folks know when they see your numbers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  5. d0zivyhoo

    d0zivyhoo Member

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    I too kept reading what others said on the web about the strips working, and I was so excited, because the AlphaTrak strips are so darn expensive (I even complained to Abbott). So, I did do the comparison of AlphaTrak2 strips vs. Freestyle Lite strips using the AlphaTrak2 meter (did a full every three hour curve for 24 hours - used a LOT of strips of both).

    I was never able to get the numbers from the different strips to mesh, no matter how I coded the meter (and yes, I was using the same drop of blood - my poor, patient cat). It was a very expensive and exhausting experiment, and I hope you benefit from my efforts. I suggest you not expect the other strips to provided accurate data on your AlphaTrak meter.

    A lot of people are going to argue with me about this, but using a human meter is not always roughly 30 points lower than the AlphaTrak. I've done the same experiment using the AlphaTrak2 vs. the Relion (and yes, using the same drop of blood), and the Relion's numbers vary depending on the level - the lower the BG reading, the closer it is to the AlphaTrak. Once you start getting above 120, however, all bets are off, and it looks like kitty's numbers are quite good when they might very well be over 200.

    So now, I just use the Freestyle Lite strips or Relion with its own strips if I'm out of the Alphatrak strips and they haven't arrived yet. However, I will never do a full curve without the AlphaTrak, as my vets want something they can compare properly with their on pet-specific meters.

    DZ and Sarah
     
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  6. ryanms3030

    ryanms3030 Member

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    Jan 22, 2013
    Thanks for the input. I'm open to all suggestions. I may just switch to human meter all together when I'm done with these strips.

    Although I know curves and spot checks are really important, is it wrong to go by looks and behavior sometimes? He has been upwards of 300-350 before getting his insulin lately (.5 unit) and then he'll drop into the 100's. But his long fur looks great and he has energy and is active compared to when he was diagnosed and he got very skinny, lethargic and his fur was always matted. So even going a little high, he still passes the eye test
     
  7. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    2/7/2013
    They call it a curve for a reason - it is expected that you will start and end at a higher level than the nadir/lowest level. The shape is approximately a parabola, opening upward. The amount of time the cat spends in "normal" numbers is what vets are looking at. The idea is to maximize that safely, without taking the cat too low.

    And take a look at my signature link on Secondary Monitoring Tools. The 5 Ps, or "whole cat report" are important indicators, just not as easily quantified as glucose levels.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
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  8. Steffi

    Steffi New Member

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    Just want to start by saying thank you to everyone for all of the wonderful information you've posted. I finally have my 2yr old boy JJ's blood sugars at 140-155. What a relief. They started out at 500-600. He's eating good, peeing less and has formed poopies. I can tell that he feels good. I'm using the AlphaTrak meter, per my vets recommendation. The cost of the test strips is outrageous. $75 for 50 strips, through my vet. Am ordering them online next time. Am also ordering the smallest quantity of freestyle lite strips today to try in the AlphaTrak as well. My vet says now that I should only test my kitty's blood glucose once a week & that I've poked him too much. I still think I should be a good mom and test twice a day. I don't want him to get sick again.

     
  9. Bobbie And Bubba

    Bobbie And Bubba Well-Known Member

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    Your vet is so wrong about testing only once a week. Before every shot is very important and at nadir as well and any other times you can get a test so you know how your cat is responding to the insulin. Otherwise, how will you know how to adjust the dose? You are being a responsible sugar cat mommy! :bighug:
     
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  10. Steffi

    Steffi New Member

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    Nov 30, 2015
    Hope I'm doing this right...With the lower #'s I'm not giving insulin to my guy. I'm hopeful that his sweet pancreas is waking up. Will continue with monitoring blood sugars twice a day. My vet had me giving JJ 3U twice a day, but now that he has normal numbers I don't want him to go too low by giving him injections. Am I doing this correctly? Is there a protocol on how much to give for certain blood sugar ranges? Thanks
     
  11. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    @Steffi - which insulin are you using? Also, are you keeping a log of his numbers in a spreadsheet?

    If JJ is on insulin then you are quite right to test every day (definitely before each injection, and at least one mid-cycle test to keep a handle on how low the dose is taking him, e.g. daytime mid-cycle or a 'before bed' test on the evening cycle. If you can't do both AM and PM mid-cycle tests each day, perhaps alternate them. If you can only do one regularly, I'd suggest getting the daily mid-cycle test for the cycle where JJ tends to run lowest (many cats run lower at night so the 'before bed' test is very valuable for trend data and, most important of all, keeping a kitty safe); and then get the mid-cycle data for the other cycle, say, at weekends. If you do change dose, it's important to do a curve as it settles to spot any major changes.

    If JJ's pancreas heals and starts sputtering back into life there is no way of predicting when it will start 'lending a hand' with lowering JJ's BG levels. You need to be on top of testing so that you can respond quickly should his dose need to be reduced.

    I get somewhat wound up about the manner in which many veterinary professionals seem to approach feline diabetes treatment. They're sometimes overly paranoid about hypoglycaemia and yet in the next breath they actively discourage the very testing which is the best way to minimize the risk of hypo. If they don't support adequate testing and the caregivers of their patients follow that advice unquestioningly then perhaps the lack of testing is a causative factor in those vets probably seeing more incidences of hypoglycaemia in cats than should be the case. For example, a feline specialist at a prestigious teaching hospital in this country told me last year that it was never safe to give a cat insulin at BG levels less than 11/200 (veterinary meter). That might be true when a cat is in unknown territory when first starting on insulin (either the very first insulin or when switching to a different insulin), is not being home tested, and where there is no body of data to track the cat's response to a particular insulin. (Note: FDMB also recommends that 11.1/200 is a 'no-shoot' threshold when no data is available to show how the cat is responding.) Provided the cat is being home tested - and especially with gentler-acting insulins like Lantus and Levemir - a sufficient body of data can be gathered and insulin can then be administered with minimal risk at preshot levels significantly below 11.1/200. (What annoyed me even more is that she had over 6 months of Saoirse's data available to her which provided irrefutable evidence that Saoirse had been tightly regulated safely and successfully with appropriate home testing, even receiving Lantus at preshot values less than 5.5/100 (Alphatrak). That vet's refusal to modify her stance resulted in much-needed insulin treatment being withheld from Saoirse for months and led to the worst pancreatitis Spec fPL result she has ever had.)

    What ticks me off even more is when some vets use minimal curve data as a basis for dosing decisions (possibly from curves done at their surgery and falsely elevated due to vet stress) and they then start ramping up dosages far too quickly, potentially missing a cat's 'goldilocks' dose. This may then leave the poor cat in a situation of chronic overdose (higher, flatter numbers - mistaken for poor regulation and dose erroneously gets hiked up even further :rolleyes:) and potentially at much greater risk of a hypoglycaemic episode (e.g. cat may end up on a roller coaster of dangerous lows and sky-high bounces).



    Mogs
    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  12. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    I spent considerable time making calls to Abbott about the difference between AT strips and FS strips. Abbott is not prepared to admit they are the same strips for monetary and legal reasons. What I managed to discern is that all the patents on the AT strips are identical to those on the FS strips however there is an additional US patent on the AT strips. I also confirmed there is no coding in either of the strips, they are both manufactured in Ireland and the chemical assay on the strips is the same. Abbott did confirm the AT strips are batch tested.

    So my conclusion is that the difference between those packaged as AT strips and those packaged as FS strips is that the AT strips have been batch tested to determine what code on the AT meter will read as close to animal lab values as possible. I am aware of 3 different codes for cats on the AT strips (08, 38, & 93). There may be more. The Freestyle strips always have a code of 16 on the vial and that code is for human use only with the older human Freestyle meters that required coding.

    While I am not advocating use of the FS strips in the AT meter, there are folks here using them who are happy with the results. They keep their AT meter set to one of the cat codes and do a comparison test with each new vial of strips either with a blood sample or control solution to make sure the readings are within the expected range. My personal cross testing of the FS vs. AT strips in the AT meter yielded a reading variance of up to 10% with the majority being within 8% of the AT strips. Most of my cross checks were done at higher readings so results may differ at lower ranges.
     
  13. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Those are the only codes I've come across on my Alphatrak 2 strips - thus far ...

    Were those variances yielded by tests on the same blood droplet, Linda?


    Mogs
    .
     
  14. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Most were the same blood droplet but I also did a few using the AT meter control solution.
     
  15. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    @MrWorfMen's Mom -

    Thanks for the additional info, Linda. I am wondering whether it might be feasible to use Freestyle strips when a cat is in high-ish numbers but then switch to Alphatrak strips as numbers trend lower.


    Mogs
    .
     
  16. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    @Critter Mom I think that would be a reasonable strategy. When I did my cross checks, Menace wasn't (and sadly still isn't) giving me any low numbers so I used the control solution initially to see what that difference was. Dealing with high numbers the small difference is not significant. With low numbers it might be!
     
  17. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    @MrWorfMen's Mom - Exactly my thoughts, too. :) Indeed, the greatest peace of mind I get from using the Alphatrak is when Saoirse's numbers were at the lower end of the euglycaemic range.
     
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  18. Mogmom and Goofus

    Mogmom and Goofus Well-Known Member

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    Dec 9, 2014
    I've used the FS Lite strios in my AT2 meter for about 6 months or so. I keep my meter set at 37. In every criss check I've ever done, and there have been MANY, the numbers were never more than 35 points different.
     
  19. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    @Mogmom and Goofus Just wondering if the code 37 was from a vial of AT strips or is this a separate code you have found that more closely mimics the AT strip results?
     
  20. Steffi

    Steffi New Member

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    Nov 30, 2015
    Hi Mogs, Thanks so much for your help.
    My cat JJ is on Prozinc. But I'm not giving at this time because his blood sugars are normal range. It boggles my mind that he was 500-600 a couple weeks ago and is now normal. I am logging every reading in a log book (date/time/appetite). Will try again to download the spreadsheet to my iPad mini. Wouldn't load before, so may have to put on my laptop instead. (I used to work in a hospital diabetes clinic and downloaded all the different glucometers & insulin pumps for the gestational moms. So I am familiar with the graphs & can't wait to see this spreadsheet, and get whatever software I need to directly download the AlphaTrak meter.
    I work Monday-Friday, so test at 7am & 7pm for consistency then feed can of friskies pate after each test. JJs a gobbler. Then he and my other cats graze all day on Science Diet CD (one bowl) and Science Diet Metabolic (second bowl). I have a boy that's had urinary crystals in the past, so he/they are all on CD dry...several years now with great success. I will add in the bedtime glucose testing and put it all on the spreadsheet.
    A little history on JJ. He came to me last spring, but I didn't bring him in until late summer. Those eyes looked up at me and I knew he'd been somewhere before.
    I lost my chocolate Siamese Yogi Bear 2 years ago and still grieve. JJ's eyes reminded me of my Yogi...the wise and knowing look. So I got him fixed up with advantage, shots & neuter. He and my other guys are strictly indoor kitties and get along so well. JJ started having explosive yellow diarrhea several months back, so I cooked chicken for him every day and he loved it...helped a little. But he was losing weight. Got him into the vet: Antibiotics & ant inflammatory injection didn't help; flagyl type liquid med did nothing; Purina probiotic powder sprinkled on food did nothing. Then I read about puréed pumpkin. It worked and JJ loved it mixed in canned food. Was amazing. I bought out the store. After couple of weeks into diabetes diagnosis though, vet had me stop pumpkin because it was so high in sugar content. Poopies are formed now witth his sweet pancreatic system doing better.
    I have other cats with some special needs and some that are feral, but that's ok....they're all my family. We will get through this and learn as we go.
    Thanks again, Steffi
     
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  21. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    @Steffi - Thanks for sharing some of your stories with us. I understand grief like that. I lost Saoirse's brother, Amadán, two weeks before their third birthday. I've never got over it. :(

    I give Saoirse canned plain pumpkin (constipation issues). If anything it has a positive effect on her blood sugar levels.

    I'm pleased to hear that JJ's diarrhoea cleared up. Saoirse had a bad pancreatitis flare last year and it was the first time I ever had a cat with diarrhoea. There was a point where I despaired of her ever producing a solid poop again. There was much rejoicing and great gladness in the Shire the first day she produced a solid poop! Joys of critter motherhood, eh? :rolleyes:


    Mogs
    .
     
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  22. Mogmom and Goofus

    Mogmom and Goofus Well-Known Member

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    It's because thru all of the cross checks I've done, I found this to be the closest with the most consistency. But I do keep AT2 strips on hand and if I get what I think to be a "too high" or "too low" number, I set the code to the number on the AT bottle and re-test. Even in doing this, only once have I changed how I'd handle the situation, but that's why I re-test any wonky numbers.
     
  23. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    @Mogmom and Goofus Thanks for the clarification. Re-checking any wonky numbers is another good safety tip I did not think to mention. :)
     
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  24. Cara and Wynken (GA)

    Cara and Wynken (GA) Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    The last 3 vials of AT strips I received showed 37 for cats. Hope helpful! Following this thread with interest because these strips are terribly high priced. I am paying $55-58 on Amazon. :( image.jpg
     
  25. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for adding another number to the list, Cara. :)

    .
     
  26. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    @Cara and Wynken Thanks for that info. I'll add that number to my list. The strips are indeed very expensive. Here in Canada they are even worse at $78 for 50 strips after tax. That's more than double the cost of the Freestyle strips here which run around $72 for 100 (non-taxable because they are for humans).
     
  27. jayla-n-Drevon

    jayla-n-Drevon Well-Known Member

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    Oct 11, 2015
    My last 3 AT strip were code 37--I am so confused about whether to use free stayle or stick with AT strips-
    I feel like the numbers are very accurate with the AT strips/meter-- they are expensive but the FS strips don't look that much cheaper? Ugh more decisions!
    OOpsie--I just saw that was already noted :eek:
     
  28. Tuxedo Mom

    Tuxedo Mom Well-Known Member

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    I have been using the FS Lite strips in my AT2 for almost a year now. I originally did about 50 test comparisons using AT2 strip and FS Lite strips with the same drop of blood and got results usually within about an average of 5%. I tested it against the lab machine last time I had blood drawn and was within 3%. I have been testing with the AT2 test solution when I use a different vial of FS Lite strips and it is always within range. My last AT2 strip code was 08 and this is the same code I have used the last year. If you are thinking of using the FS Lite strips do your own comparisons with AT2 strips so that YOU feel comfortable. I really don't know if it matters which code you use as long as the test solution gives you the ranges listed. Also testing it against a lab machine will give you a good test. AT2 readings as supposed to be closer to the lab machines than human meters.
     
  29. Steffi

    Steffi New Member

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    Nov 30, 2015
    I have a shipment of Freestyle Lite strips on the way and will report back on how they compare with AlphaTrak.
    Steffi and JJ
     
  30. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    @Steffi - I look forward to reading about how you get on. :)
     
  31. Mogmom and Goofus

    Mogmom and Goofus Well-Known Member

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    I buy the FS Lite strips online (usually Amazon but sometimes eBay) I've been paying about half as compared to the AT.
     
  32. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Just checked over here in the UK. On Amazon and Ebay the FS Lite strips are less than half the cheapest price I can get Alphatrak strips for (including P&P). :eek:
     
  33. Steffi

    Steffi New Member

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    Nov 30, 2015
    Haven't written in a while. While I got JJ's blood sugar's down to normal and off insulin.... I lost him tonight from FIP. My heart is broken .
    When I feel better I will write about the success we had using Freestyle Lite test strips with the AlphaTrak meter.
    Steffi
     
  34. Tuxedo Mom

    Tuxedo Mom Well-Known Member

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    Steffi I am so so sorry to hear that JJ has crossed the bridge. FIP is such a deadly disease.

    May your good memories give you strength and peace at this sad time. :bighug: :bighug: :bighug:
     
  35. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Steffi, My heart goes out to you! I'm so sorry for your loss. You were JJ's guardian angel and now he is yours! :bighug::bighug:Fly free and rest in peace JJ! :rb_icon:
     
  36. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Oh Steffi....

    My heart goes out to you. I know how much you love him ...

    ((((Steffi & Spirit JJ))))

    :bighug::bighug::bighug:

    .
     
  37. NanD

    NanD New Member

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    Jun 18, 2017
    We are fortunate. Tiger went into remission 5 weeks after diagnosed. Five (20%) of the 25 strips in the AlphaTrak2 kit were defective. I await response - this is email to order_desk@zoetis.com. Zoetis is kit and strip manufacturer; I request they honor their mission statement "customer first" https://www.zoetis.ca/about-us-pages/vision-and-mission.aspx. Cost for these strips is more than the kit! I am requesting they send me free, the five strips that did not record (and a few extra) - to conclude spot tests for the next month. I suggest all using these products do same; give us a stronger voice. We should not be exploited by these excessive costs, slaves to these products, to keep our pets well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  38. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    I hope you get a free vial of strips but Zoetis does not manufacture the meter or the strips. Abbott does but Zoetis, who have been involved with the AT2 since it's inception along with Abbott, has recently bought the marketing rights back. Zoetis should stand behind their product but ultimately they are going to have to take the matter up with Abbott. I am 99.9% sure the AT2 strips are simply Freestyle Lite strips that have been batch tested for use in the AT2 meter and have not heard of any problems with their human strips lately nor have I had any issues using them but perhaps there was a storage issue or something that rendered some strips useless.

    I wish you luck and applaud you for making Zoetis stand behind their product. Unfortunately, any specialty products are going to come at a premium cost and a lot of folks will continue to support those high costs by using the product.
     
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  39. NanD

    NanD New Member

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    Jun 18, 2017
    I am confident. Good companies that retain strong brand, will respond with good will gesture. Thanks for Abbott/Zoetis update. This site helped me through all this - saved my cat and me.
     
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  40. NanD

    NanD New Member

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    Jun 18, 2017
    FYI - it was a 'run around' of email and calls with distributor and ZOETIS Canada and US ... but ZOETIS US, in goodwill, is shipping me 50 strips. FREE
     
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  41. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear you got some strips out of them! It doesn't surprise me at all that it took a bit of work to get them. I contacted Zoetis with some questions just after they took over from Abbott and you would have thought I had written to them in Greek! Totally useless waste of my time. :rolleyes:
     
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  42. Jill Roberts

    Jill Roberts New Member

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  43. Jill Roberts

    Jill Roberts New Member

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    Thank you for posting that! I have a Type 1 cat, diagnosed at 7 months and I don't think he's ever been controlled. Vets are so casual about the insulin testing. I give lantus, I'm not even sure that's the right one to give for him, and the vet told me he was COMFORTABLE with a blood sugar of 300 or above! And that since he's underweight I should just free feed him. My jaw literally dropped. I have no faith in vets, i feel like I'm on my own here, but I darn sure know that my cat needs tight control.
     
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  44. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    @Jill Roberts -

    I agree with the vet's advice about not restricting access to food for underweight diabetic cats - with the exception of the two hours prior to the morning and evening preshot BG tests so that the results are not food-influenced (necessary to make sure it is safe to give the next insulin dose).

    I do not agree that a cat spending all its time at a BG over 300 is something to be 'comfortable' about.

    With regard to improving regulation, the best way to do that is by doing adequate daily BG testing and tracking the trends in the results in order to keep the cat safe and optimise the cat's dosing.


    Mogs
    .
     
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