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Specialist Guinea Pig with new diabetes diagnosis - what type of blood glucose monitor to buy?

LauW

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Hello,
Long time reader but first time posting.
My Guinea Pig Monty is 10 months old and was diagnosed with diabetes this week via a blood test by a guinea pig savvy vet. I had spotted the high glucose in his urine when doing urine tests. We travelled 2 hours to see this vet and so can't pop in for blood tests. The vet has advised to get a blood glucose monitor and let him know the results. I've been searching online, but I don't know whether to buy a human one or a cat/dog one. Can anyone recommend one that they are using?
Some of the monitors are quite expensive, so I want to buy the right one the first time and would be grateful for any recommendations.

Thank you :)
 

Siikibam

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I’ll tag @Wiebke @Swissgreys @VickiA hope your piggy is okay. How often were you told to test levels and what (if any) changes have you been advised to make? And how are you supposed to get the blood sample?
 

Wiebke

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Hello,
Long time reader but first time posting.
My Guinea Pig Monty is 10 months old and was diagnosed with diabetes this week via a blood test by a guinea pig savvy vet. I had spotted the high glucose in his urine when doing urine tests. We travelled 2 hours to see this vet and so can't pop in for blood tests. The vet has advised to get a blood glucose monitor and let him know the results. I've been searching online, but I don't know whether to buy a human one or a cat/dog one. Can anyone recommend one that they are using?
Some of the monitors are quite expensive, so I want to buy the right one the first time and would be grateful for any recommendations.

Thank you :)
Hi!

Taking blood from guinea pigs is not at all easy and should only be done by specialists as it can collapse blood vessels if done wrongly. This is most definitely not something to do at home!

You can find dietary information for guinea pigs with diabetes in the special diets chapter. In most guinea pigs, diabetes does settle down within a month of making the dietary changes and can be kept under control by them. I know of less than a handful of piggies that where that has not been possible.
Here the link: Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets

However, as I have never had a diabetes piggy myself (it is thankfully not very common after an initial fad of overdiagnosing the naturally glucosamine high urine that guinea pigs have about a decade ago), I cannot advise on you any further.
 

LauW

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Thank you. He seems absolutely fine and he's a very happy pig, just a bit thirsty! The vet asked me to give him a reading tomorrow to start with, but I might have to try a local vet or wait until I get a reader. Monty is having 1 unit of insulin twice a day, this was started 4 days ago.
We are cutting out all fruit and limiting veg like carrot and pepper. He had a calcium stone removed 6 weeks ago, so we've already taken anything high in calcium out of his diet.
The vet has said to clip a claw a bit too short to get a blood sample. I contacted the CCT and they also said that's the best way to do it.

His friend went to rainbow bridge just before Christmas. I really want to get him a new friend, but just want to get him sorted health wise first.
 

LauW

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Hi!

Taking blood from guinea pigs is not at all easy and should only be done by specialists as it can collapse blood vessels if done wrongly. This is most definitely not something to do at home!

You can find dietary information for guinea pigs with diabetes in the special diets chapter. In most guinea pigs, diabetes does settle down within a month of making the dietary changes and can be kept under control by them. I know of less than a handful of piggies that where that has not been possible.
Here the link: Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
I am struggling with the insulin, so I will speak to the vet tomorrow and see if we can stop the insulin and try dietary changes and then monitor him.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you. He seems absolutely fine and he's a very happy pig, just a bit thirsty! The vet asked me to give him a reading tomorrow to start with, but I might have to try a local vet or wait until I get a reader. Monty is having 1 unit of insulin twice a day, this was started 4 days ago.
We are cutting out all fruit and limiting veg like carrot and pepper. He had a calcium stone removed 6 weeks ago, so we've already taken anything high in calcium out of his diet.
The vet has said to clip a claw a bit too short to get a blood sample. I contacted the CCT and they also said that's the best way to do it.

His friend went to rainbow bridge just before Christmas. I really want to get him a new friend, but just want to get him sorted health wise first.
Please read the diet guide; the changes need to include any grain based foods, too.
 

Siikibam

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How often are you meant to do the readings?
 

Claire W

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Hi, my late Ellen was a diabetic pig. She was diagnosed at 6 months old after I noticed high glucose in her urine, her water intake being high and a blood test (a prick to the ear) confirmed it.

We didn’t treat with insulin but made dietary changes and her diabetes reversed itself within a few months. You can feed pepper but stay away from red as this has the most sugar.

Her diet consisted of pepper (apart from red) cucumber coriander green beans and lettuces (not iceberg) minimal pellets and lots and lots of hay
 

LauW

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Hi, my late Ellen was a diabetic pig. She was diagnosed at 6 months old after I noticed high glucose in her urine, her water intake being high and a blood test (a prick to the ear) confirmed it.

We didn’t treat with insulin but made dietary changes and her diabetes reversed itself within a few months. You can feed pepper but stay away from red as this has the most sugar.

Her diet consisted of pepper (apart from red) cucumber coriander green beans and lettuces (not iceberg) minimal pellets and lots and lots of hay
That gives me hope! It'd be amazing if his diabetes reversed itself too.

Thank you, I'll cut out the red pepper. We've already hugely reduced his pellets after the calcium stone and increased his hay and fresh grass intake.
 

Swissgreys

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Did the vet say if he felt it was Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
I am guessing Type 1 if they are recommending insulin therapy as a starting point, as if it was Type 2 diet modification (and possibly oral meds if necessary) would be the first route to explore.
Given your piggy's age it could be Type 1.
I am in no way an expert, however what advice has the vet given about monitoring after giving insulin.
Has he discussed complications like hypoglycaemia and how to treat them?
What insulin is he on and how much does he weigh?

Sorry for all the questions but hopefully we can help.
 

LauW

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Did the vet say if he felt it was Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
I am guessing Type 1 if they are recommending insulin therapy as a starting point, as if it was Type 2 diet modification (and possibly oral meds if necessary) would be the first route to explore.
Given your piggy's age it could be Type 1.
I am in no way an expert, however what advice has the vet given about monitoring after giving insulin.
Has he discussed complications like hypoglycaemia and how to treat them?
What insulin is he on and how much does he weigh?

Sorry for all the questions but hopefully we can help.
Hi :)
I can't remember if the vet said he thought it was Type 1 or Type 2, but I'll ring and check tomorrow.
The vet said to buy a blood glucose monitor and let him know the results to check the difference the insulin was making. But I don't know which one to buy as they seem to be calibrated differently for humans, dogs and cats.
Monty lives in our living room, so I monitor him most of the day and haven't noticed any changes in him.
Yes, the vet said about hypoglycaemia and to offer food and if that doesn't work rub some glucose syrup or honey on his gums.
Monty is on ProZinc 40 IU/ml. He's supposed to have 1 unit twice a day, but I realised tonight that the syringes I'm using are different to the ones I practiced with at the vets. The practice ones had full unit measures and these have half and I've only been giving him half a unit, as I've just been going to the first measure as I'd practiced.
Monty weights 946g.
 
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