Effective glucose monitoring is the key to proper management of diabetes in cats and dogs. Although glucose levels in diabetic cats and dogs can be measured using the same techniques used in humans, the meter used for measuring their blood glucose levels would have to be the one that is specifically made for cats and dogs. A human glucose meter, when used for measuring glucose levels in cats and dogs, can often deliver inaccurate results.
The human home glucose monitoring systems are being increasingly used for pet diabetes management, yet many pet owners may not know that glucose readings obtained from a pet using a human meter may not be as precise as the ones obtained from a pet specific meter. Fortunately, the developments and availability of pet specific glucose meters have made obtaining accurate glucose readings for cats and dogs at home a possibility that did not exist a decade ago.
Why human meters are not as accurate as pet specific meters?
The reason behind why human meters do not deliver accurate glucose readings for pets is due to the difference between the distribution of glucose in the blood of humans and animals.
Humans: 58% of the glucose is located in plasma and 42% of the glucose in the red blood cells.
Dogs: 87.5% of the glucose is located in plasma and 12.5% of the glucose in the red blood cells
Cats: 93% of the glucose is located in plasma and only 7% of the glucose in the red blood cells.
As you can see the distribution of glucose in the blood of humans and animal is different. There is also a definite variation between the size of the red blood cells between humans and animals. Even more, humans and pets have a different PCV (packed cell volume) – humans: 37-50%, dog: 37-55%, cat: 24-45%, meaning that the number of red blood cells differs a lot between the species.
For these reasons, the glucose readings from a human blood glucose meter and one created specifically for animals are going to be different. Meters made for humans are calibrated for human plasma, therefore providing accurate results, while meters made for cats and dogs are calibrated for pet plasma.
To obtain accurate glucose readings for your cats and dogs you must use a glucose meter specifically calibrated for pets. Using a human glucose meter for measuring glucose levels in cats and dogs can deliver inaccurate results that are often significantly lower than what they actually are.