Super interesting post for any owners of diabetic patients and a first for us here at AVG.
This rather handsome little man is Pepe. Pepe is a very well loved Dachshund and is 15 years old. A few months ago, during a routine urine test, Pepe was diagnosed with diabetes.
Over the last few weeks and months, Pepe has proven to be slightly more tricky than other cases and stabilising his glucose levels has proven to be a challenge.
Up until recently, the only way to monitor a dogs blood glucose effectively was to take regular blood or urine samples. For the last few years, a product called a Freestyle Libre Sensor has been available to human diabetic patients privately and then recently some health authorities have been providing them on the NHS. Arun Veterinary Group owner Matt had recently read an article about them being used effectively in dogs, so after a good chat with Pepe’s Mum and Dad we decided to invite Pepe into the hospital this week to have one fitted. The sensor works by being placed on a patch of skin. In the case of humans the adhesive on the sensor is adequate, however with a dog, Matt decided to use a little tissue glue to help secure the outer edges. Underneath the sensor is a very tiny needle or wire which is painlessly inserted just 5mm underneath the skin. The needle or wire is a very tiny 0.4mm wide so as you can imagine this is pretty much unnoticed by the patient (human or furry!) This sensor captures a blood glucose reading every minute and stores readings of 15 minute intervals. Using a scanner (very similar to a microchip scanner, only smaller) the owner or patient then scans the sensor which provides an accurate blood glucose reading and up to 8 hours of data. Each sensor can be worn for up to 14 days and they may be worn to swim in and bath.
The scanners can be plugged in to a PC at regular intervals and the data downloaded will give us a clear picture of how an animals glucose levels have been behaving over the last 14 days. The other beauty of this product is that not only does it give us a current glucose level at the time the patient is scanned, it also provides an indication of whether the blood glucose level is heading upwards or downwards at the current time. Pretty clever?!
Its worth pointing out that these sensors do not replace the need for regular blood glucose curves at the clinic, however it allows owners to closing monitor their pets blood glucose in a pain free, stress-free way.
It is still very early days for Pepe and obviously this is the first time we have tried this approach.
Many thanks to Pepe’s Mum and Dad for allowing us to share his story.