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Procedure for Home Testing of Blood Glucose using a Glucometer Elite Meter and a Lancet Device for Ear Sticks or Paw Sticks

As a supplement to the section Home Blood Glucose Testing of the Diabetic Cat

This procedure is long because it's very detailed, but it's really simple. It just takes practice and patience. You can practice on your own finger tip (that first stick is the most difficult); I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how little pain there is -- just a tiny sting -- from the small lancet and fast lancet device.

*** IMPORTANT *** Before you begin, you should read and fully understand the instruction manual for your blood glucose meter, test strips, lancet device, and lancets. If this procedure differs from the instruction manual, always follow the instruction manual.


  • Glucometer Elite meter and test strips
  • Penlet II lancet device or equivalent
  • B-D ultra-fine lancets or equivalent
  • cotton ball
  • small flashlight

I chose the Penlet II lancet device because it is relatively quiet and causes very little startle reaction in our cat Ginger. Several other lancet devices may work equally well. Ginger prefers the use of a lancet device to me holding the lancet manually and sticking the vein. Some pets disagree, so try manual sticks too.


I first wash my hands and warm them in hot water or with a small blue gel heat pack. I position the Glucometer Elite test strip in the meter but do not push it in far enough to activate the meter. I hold Ginger on my lap facing forward or a bit to the side, so I am looking at the back of her head. I massage her ear from the base upward to warm it for increased blood flow (she likes it). I find a vein by holding the flashlight behind her ear, shining through the ear toward me. Note: Do not use alcohol to clean the ear immediately before testing. If the ear is dirty, it may be cleaned with water and dried thoroughly. In the beginning, the procedure is easier to manage with two people. If you don't have a partner, go to the section "One Person" below.

Two People:

    I hold Ginger's ear steady over a cotton ball while my partner positions the Penlet over the vein (or a little toward the edge of the ear) using the notch on its cap as a guide. He pushes it down firmly so the ear is securely pinned between the Penlet and cotton ball held behind the ear, and pushes the button to release the lancet. Ginger may jump a little but not much. Then, unless we hit the large vein directly and get plenty of blood, I massage the ear to get a blood drop a little larger than an "O" and hold her ear steady so she can't flick the drop off. If there is not enough blood (soon you will be able to tell in advance), we reposition the Penlet and try again. If we think there is enough blood, my partner pushes the test strip into the meter to activate it and removes the foil (save it). When the meter is ready, he touches the test strip to the blood drop, and the blood is drawn into the test strip collection area automatically. We continue holding the test strip in the blood a few seconds after the meter beeps (see NOTE 1 below). Then I use the cotton ball to dry Ginger's ear and release her (yeah!) while the Glucometer Elite counts down and displays the blood glucose (BG) value. We record the BG number manually along with the date & time, and use the foil to remove the test strip from the meter & discard it. If we misjudged and there is not enough blood for a valid reading, we discard the test strip and start over. Some people have reported inaccurate results (too low) if they try to re-stick and add more blood from a second drop before the meter beeps.

One Person:

    When I do the test by myself, I have the meter sitting beside me, withthe test strip inserted but the meter not activated. I hold Ginger's ear steady over a cotton ball with one hand and position the Penlet with the other, then push down firmly and release the lancet. Then I massage the ear to get a blood drop. Here's the only tricky part: I hold her ear steady with the thumb and index finger of my left hand, bring the meter to it with my right hand, move the meter to my left hand (I hold it between my index and middle fingers), and use my right hand to push the test strip into the meter and remove the foil. Then I switch the meter back to my right hand. When the meter is ready, I hold the test strip to the blood drop and continue as described above. Later when you are confident of getting an adequate blood drop before the meter times out (i.e. in three minutes), you can push the test strip into the meter to activate it before beginning the lancing process. If the time limit expires and the meter turns itself off before you're ready, use the foil to pull the test strip out of the meter, push it back in to reactivate the meter, and continue.

NOTE 1: We have found that with the Glucometer Elite, the blood must completely fill the round collection area in the test strip AND two tiny "legs" that reach toward the bottom of the "C". If the blood sample has legs, the blood sample size should be adequate. Like some other people have reported on the Net, we have had the meter beep to tell us it got enough blood, but the reading was incorrect (too low, verified by retesting immediately).

NOTE 2: When you're a beginner, it can take 10+ tries before you get a blood drop of adequate size, so don't get discouraged. Now it takes us only one or two tries.

Other suggestions:

To greatly reduce the number of sticks, use the lancet device head designed for deeper penetration. It does not seem to bother Ginger any more, and IF it goes completely through the ear, you can get a blood drop on both sides. This seems to be easier on her than multiple sticks.

Use a lancet larger than ultra-fine


You may need to stick with the lancet manually or use a lancet device that gives deeper penetration (e.g., SoftClix with adjustable depth) and larger lancets to get enough blood. Otherwise it shows real promise as an alternate site to give the ears a break. Our cat doesn't even move, like she doesn't even feel the stick.

First wipe off the large pad on one of the paws with warm water and dry it. Press the lancet device FIRMLY against the pad and release the lancet. Then squeeze the pad to get a blood drop. Continue as described with ear sticks.

III. FOLLOW-UP (both types of sticks):

After the test, I discard the lancet and clean the lancet device cap with a generous amount of alcohol on a cotton ball and let it air dry. It is recommended that you soak the lancet cap in alcohol for 10 minutes once a week to disinfect.

At the end of the day's testing period, I enter the BG results into a spreadsheet (e.g., Microsoft ExcelTM) and print a graph showing the Glucose Curve (BG vs. time). The graph is much easier to interpret than a list of numbers -- a picture's worth a thousand words. If desired, you can label the insulin onset, peak, and duration, low BG, and any notes (insulin dosages and injection times, feeding amounts and times, symptoms like excessive thirst or urination or hunger, etc.) in text boxes on the graph. It's awesome! I give copies of the BG curves to our veterinarian for evaluation.

Watch your pet's ears or paws for a few days afterward for signs of swelling, infection or excessive bruising. Most bruises are small and heal within a couple of days. If problems develop, see your veterinarian.

Rotate the site of ear and paw sticks, just as you do with insulin injections. You can use both edges of each ear, or any foot pad (the largest pads may work best).

Good luck to you and your diabetic pet!

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