My first attempt at testing was a total failure.

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by SidneysMom, Dec 11, 2019.

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  1. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    I aimed at the sweet spot the first time, I got nothing. The second time I did it, Sid cried. I didn't think it was even that hard. I saw no blood, then was wiping his ear as he ducked and dodged and got a drop of blood. Then the meter shut off and I couldn't get a reading. I could cry.
    I gave him treats and pet him but now he runs if I try to pet his ears, and he normally lets me rub them.
    I wanted to get a reading before we start insulin tomorrow.
    I gave him a few treats and pets after but he still keeps running from me.
    All I can think of is how will I ever test him by myself? Did anyone start out with a reluctant cat who gets used to tests? I used a lancet and did it by hand, not a lancing device.
    My vet did it on the middle inside of the ear. I did it on the end on the sweet spot because it isn't supposed to hurt. Apparently it did :-(
     
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  2. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

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    There are not as many nerve endings on the ear as you think. It will get better.

    Insert the strip partway into the meter. Once you have a drop of blood, you can lift it onto your fingernail, insert the strip fully the way into the meter and test the drop of blood.
     
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  3. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    I just feel awful cause I obviously hurt him. maybe a lancing device is a better idea.
     
  4. Sarah&Soph

    Sarah&Soph Member

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    Try not to be too discouraged, you can do this!!!!! When I first tried home testing, it was a total nightmare. My cat was less than cooperative and would fight, run, hide, bite, scratch, you name it. I was a nervous wreck and so was she. I thought there was no way I would ever be able to test her myself. It took about 2-3 weeks, but with a lot of patience and treats, we both eventually got the hang of it. And I know you can too!!!

    I know a lot of people prefer to poke freehand but I personally cannot. The only times my cat has ever cried out when I poked her ears was the two times I tried to do it freehand. The lancet device is just much easier for me. It sounds like you’re both a little shaken so it might be a good idea to start over slowly. After my failed attempts, what worked for me was getting Sophie used to all the parts of the testing routine before I tried the whole thing at once again. I would rub her ears a few times a day with a treat immediately after. Then I started holding her in place like I would to test her, with a treat after. Clicking the pen with a treat after, etc and eventually she stopped running away when I got the testing stuff out and started running TO me!
     
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  5. Panic

    Panic Well-Known Member

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    The one time I tried poking freehand my girl jerked because I pushed too far in, she cried out and it felt like I'd snagged the lancet through her ear when she moved. Decided nope, lancet device it is! Is it possible I gave up too easily? Sure, but the device suits kitty and me just fine so who cares.

    Not many people can get a reading the first day, or first few days so don't sweat it. Give yourself a "give up" number for pokes and try again later. Just a minute ago it took me a good five pokes to get enough blood! (wasted three strips too...ergh!)
     
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  6. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    Thanks guys. I appreciate all the encouragement and advice! <3 But what do I do in a situation where I can't get a reading before I'm supposed to shoot? That's what I'm worried about. How do I give him insulin if I can't get a reading? I'm like totally fretting. I'm going to start using a lancet and do all the positive reinforcement like you guys are all saying. It sounds like the first few weeks are going to be nerve-racking.
     
  7. Panic

    Panic Well-Known Member

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    Someone may say otherwise but when I was learning and couldn't get a reading I'd type "failed test", give insulin, and move on with my life. Many, many people shoot every day for years never taking a single test. Is it a good idea? No. But it is what it is.

    I would assume however, in the beginning, if you're starting on a low introduction dose and he's been untreated all this time his numbers are going to be too high to worry about anyway.
     
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  8. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    I suspect this is going to be the case. I'm going to do my very best for Sidney, but at the same time, I can't let things get to discouraging or I will end up a poor caregiver. I will likely wake up to check on him the first few weeks if I can't get a reading. We are starting on 1u of insulin, so it's not too high.
     
  9. Patty & Teal'c

    Patty & Teal'c Member

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    It took me a month to finally get a good test. Yesterday he jerked as I poked and I got way more blood then I wanted. I took the test and talked to him in a calm manner then held a paper towel to his ear to stop the blood then a treat and all was forgotten or forgiving. He survived and so did I and his ear also looks fine.
     
  10. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Jun 8, 2016
    If he wants to get away try scooping the drop onto your nail and test from there. The first couple weeks can be hard.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
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  11. Charlotte’s mom

    Charlotte’s mom Member

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    Hi!! Don’t give up. I found using the large paw pad on the hind limbs worked better for Charlotte and me. I cradle her like a baby in my arms, poke her pad, insert the strip in the meter, then draw up the blood. I found with the ear she knew what I was going to do and would whine before I even started! Do what is the most comfortable and with time, you’ll be a pro!
     
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  12. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Yes, don't give up. In fact you can't give up! As easy as videos make it look and we make it sound I've been doing this forever and I always cringed. Injecting was the easy part, my wife couldn't bear to look at poking. It's going to take time, it's the most unnatural thing there is (next to an enema).
    My ritual was to have both cats in their comfort zone (their basket) and lay everything out in front of them so they knew what was coming. Cats don't like surprises. Noah had ears like rice paper and I would often go right through or if he winced I'd shred his ear, major guilt. Get the blood now from inside the ear if you have to and apologize later. As for the meter timing out, what I did was have the strip halfway in the meter (all the way in turned the meter on), wait for blood and tap the strip to turn it on.
    We have all been there and cried the same tears but it's this or nothing at all. It's all about trust.
     
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  13. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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  14. WendyACE

    WendyACE Member

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    Dec 10, 2019
    I am preparing to try it for my first time this weekend on my Bailey. I guess I will use the lancet pen as I was going to try freehand. SydneysMom my heart goes out to you as I will be right there myself I know. I have read that it takes a while to get the hang of it. I am just now after 2 weeks getting better at getting Bailey's oral meds administered without squirting it all over her face. I grind up the pills and mix with a pudding like cat treat and put in an oral syringe. Just shoving the pills down her throat wasn't working. I believe that giving her insulin injections will be a piece of cake compared to pills and glucose testing. So just keep at it girl you (and I) will get there!
     
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  15. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Years ago I thought I had done everything right. I did Nigel on the floor by the sliding glass door, lots of light. One day I noticed a lot of micro blood drops on the door trim where he had shaken his head and burst into tears.
    What did work. I put a big bath towel on the kitchen table for his comfort and traction. Better light and I was eye to eye with him. Because he trusted me everything changed for the better. Noah was much more nervous so he stayed in his basket on the floor. I also sang for both of our sanity.
    Hush, little baby, don't say a word. Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird. Lots of people here sing, whatever works for you.
     
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  16. Maggies Mom Debby

    Maggies Mom Debby Well-Known Member

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    Everyone has trouble at first! It might take a while for both of you to get used to testing and to get a reading. Sidney will be ok with an appropriate insulin dose and without being tested.

    I know it’s hard, but the more stressed out you are, the more stressed out Sidney will be. And just because he made a fuss doesn’t mean it hurt a lot. I just trimmed my cats claws and one acted like I was killing him. I know it didn’t hurt, but he cried out as if it did.

    Please don’t despair. This will all work out. You need patience. You need to be easier on yourself, too!
     
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  17. Tomlin

    Tomlin Well-Known Member

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    Hi. Don’t give up. You will get it. In the meantime, some vets will offer the Freestyle Libre in the beginning while you are trying to figure out the dosing and learning to do BG. Just a thought and an option that may work for you.
     
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  18. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Hey Jen, how did it go this AM? Any better luck? :)

    You might find taking the cap off the lancing device will make it easier to see where you are poking while still having benefit of the lancing device.
     
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  19. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    Hey Linda, thanks for asking! I appreciate it. It was basically a big fat mess. Though Sidney doesn't have a fever anymore, I brought my meter in for testing and it is WAY off. like by six points. The testing meter was reading totally normal when his was reading between 18-20. Vet made me try it five different times and it was all over the place. Vet said please don't use this meter. Take it back. I can't take it back or get another one until tomorrow, and we are supposed to start insulin tomorrow at 7 am. Which means I have to dose him and not test, and I'm a MESS.
    I just can't believe it. To top it off, he has a slight rash where the shaved a spot for us to see where we can give insulin. I'm guessing from the clippers?
    It's not this particular vet that deals with Lantus, it's the other vet on staff who is only in weekends and Monday and Tuesday. So this vet said if I want to be extra safe, just give Sidney one dose of Lantus tomorrow, and then another morning dose on Saturday, and talk to the other vet on Saturday when he is in about what meter he wanted me to get originally (something human but not the Freestyle Lite.). If that vet feels it's okay to resume the 12 hour regimen, we can do it Saturday night once I get the meter Saturday evening.
    I am EXHAUSTED and mentally spent.
    To top things off, my parents had to put down our nearly 20 year old family cat today. He was very sick. I'm just weary and heartbroken.
    I'm so scared to dose Sid without testing, but there's no way to get anything between then and there, and I don't want to keep holding off when he needs the insulin. I'm just worried I don't want to hurt my baby.
     
  20. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Was the vet using a pet meter? There will be differences. A human meter and a pet meter are closer at lower numbers are farther apart at the higher numbers. It is the low numbers that are the important ones. High is high regardless of the meter.

    I never had any problems with the FreeStyle Lite. Nor have I heard of any major problems with the meter.

    There is such a horrible beast as meter variance. By law, any meter is allowed by have a 15-20% variance in numbers. That is why if you get a number that cannot be explained, it is best to test again. It might just be a wonky strip (it happens). To test the human meter, poke your finger and test yourself. The same normal range applies. FYI: there are a lot more nerve ending in your fingertip than in a cat's ear.

    Razor burn from the clippers?

    Lantus is a dept insulin. It needs time to build up the depot. Once a day dosing is not going to build up a depot. You will have a Lantus influence cycle during the day and a non-Lantus influenced cycle during the night. The next day, you won't really see what the Lantus can really do because the very small amount of the shot the day before that went into the depot would have been used up. Once a day dosing does not make sense.

    My condolences on the loss of your family's cat.
     
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  21. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    The vet was using a pet meter. However his reading was like 18.9 and mine was 10. He said it should be a lot higher than that. And not only that, it was erratic. Sometimes it was 12, others ten. He made me test from a tiny blood draw on Sidney about six times to see if it was a bad strip or something.

    I don't know. Maybe I just got a bad meter?

    Honestly, I have NO idea. He doesn't have any spots other than right where they shaved the spot, but there it's irritated on the left side. I was just so annoyed.

    I believe the one time dose is just for safety until I can talk to the other vet the following day and get the new meter, and also discuss the Lantus. Considering I will be able to talk to him before the next dose is due, I will probably be able to get Sid on two doses Saturday. I figure one dose on Friday is better than nothing. I hate making him wait more time. I don't like dosing blindly until I can get the meter, but at this point...I have no idea what else to do.
     
  22. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Comparing a pet meter to a human meter is like comparing apples to carrots. There is no direct correlation. Believe me, a number of people have tried. All we know is that the take action number on a human meter is 50 (2.8) and 68 (3.8) on a pet meter. See how much closer the two meters are at lower numbers?
     
  23. Sarah&Soph

    Sarah&Soph Member

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    As Kel said, pet meters will typically read higher than human meters. And though it seems like a lot, 10 and 12 are still within the allowed 15-20% variance. When it comes down to it, whether you get a reading of 10 (180) or 12 (216) doesn’t really change much in terms of how you would approach dosing. It is very frustrating for sure, but once you start learning what the numbers mean it will be less so :cat:
     
  24. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    The other vet in the practice told me not to administer insulin if my meter is under 11. Honestly, I am utterly frustrated by so many variables. I have no idea what is safe to do at this point, and am completely confused. I'd get an alphatrak meter and just be done with it to be honest, but they don't even sell the meter on amazon. And I'm not sure where to get strips around here to be honest. I hate delaying him anymore, but the vet I saw today was insistent the meter should be closer than that.
     
  25. Sarah&Soph

    Sarah&Soph Member

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    When you’re first starting out, diabetes feels SO overwhelming and anxiety inducing and it can feel like you’ll never understand it. I was in your shoes, I get it completely! But at some point, you just have to bite the bullet and start. I respect the heck out of most vets, but honestly most of them do not have very much diabetes experience and even if they do, it’s not nearly as much as the experience of many members on this board who live and breathe it every day. Trying to follow the advice of both the board and your vet will likely just confuse and frustrate you (I’ve been there too! :rolleyes:). I think one of the most helpful things you can do once you start insulin is to start posting on the lantus forum. They have SO much experience and can help you tremendously!
     
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  26. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    I appreciate everyone's kind words. I'm just so overwhelmed and confused about what to do right now. I want to do what's best for Sid. I don't want to screw up and hearing stuff back and forth is just messing with me. I'm supposed to start tomorrow and I'm scared to do it, and scared NOT to do it. Especially after the meter comments from my vet.
     
  27. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    Actually, maybe if someone can point me to WHAT numbers I would not shoot at on a human glucometer, it would be very helpful. At least I can try to test him tomorrow before giving insulin and maybe feel a bit more secure doing it. IF I can manage a test.
     
  28. Tomlin

    Tomlin Well-Known Member

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    Hi. First, I am so sorry for the loss of your cat. I am also sorry this has become overwhelming but I can assure you that you aren’t the first one who felt this exact same way for many of the same reasons when their cat was initially diagnosed! It will get easier, it will make sense and you will learn each day. Right now I’m sure it feels like drinking from a firehose and that is NOT fun!

    If you would be ok with it, would you go to the Lantus forum and post explaining that you are new and looking for help? Don’t be overwhelmed when you get asked to set up a spreadsheet and what dose has been suggested as this is how experienced members will be able to help you. Also, there are members who use the AlphaTRAK2 and some who use both for a couple of reasons 1) BG curves for the vet who wants pet meter readings 2) Save on glucose strips given that the AT2 strips are more expensive 3) IF you decide to use one of the protocols/methods which you will hear about and read about on the Lantus forum, which helps with parameters around dosing such as when to hold the dose, increase a dose or decrease a dose, the studies that were done to establish them were done using human meters. Therefore, it is suggested to use the human meter. Again, some members stick with AlphaTRAK2, some use human meters & some use both in order to make it easier for following the protocols/getting advice based on them as well. No matter what you choose, people are supportive and will be there to help you. There are also what are called “stickies” at the top of the forum with extremely helpful information, including when to stall giving insulin, increase a dose and a ton of other info. It takes time, but just like anything else in life, you will learn and it will become much easier as time goes on. Again, the members on that forum are very experienced and are there to help &/or provide support :). Also, my advice is to try find a vet who does understand feline diabetes (they do exist!) & if possible, one that you can be on the same page with how you are going to manage it. It helps. There are some vets who are comfortable with very, very loose management of it and then there are others who, especially in early diagnosis, go for tighter regulation to try to achieve remission or at least regulation. Given that your cat is newly diagnosed, and if you are open to trying for remission, then you want the vet who knows and is willing to help you try to achieve that goal.
     
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  29. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

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    For beginners, it is recommended not to shoot under 150 (8.3 CDN). If, say, you get a number under 10 (being overly cautious here), do not feed and post for an action plan. The numbers I've mentioned are very safe. As you get more data and you have a better idea about how Sidney reacts to Lantus, the do not shoot number is lowered.
    We will not put your cat, or any cat for that matter, in danger.
     
  30. SidneysMom

    SidneysMom Member

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    So 8.3 no shooting. It's weird that his numbers were so low at the vet on my meter at 10..., and the vet's was 18. It seems like such a huge gap. I'd think his numbers would be much lower here at home. But I won't know until I do it I guess
     
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