Tools of the trade: AlphaTRAK Blood Glucose Monitoring System

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blood glucose monitoring system

by Dr Annie D’Netto, Valley Vet Surgery, Marian, QLD

The AlphaTRAK blood glucose machine is specifically designed for use with dogs and cats, which is much better than using a unit designed for humans. The species is designated by a code on the testing strips and will read differently depending on the species.

What’s good about it

The machine is operated much the same as other blood glucose monitoring systems. What I like about it is that you don’t need much blood on the strip and they are designed to easily collect a sample. There is a sampling tab on both sides of the strip, making it convenient to take blood from the ear, elbow or wherever. I’ve used other machines where a heap of blood is placed on or around the strip, and there isn’t enough absorbed to get a reading. The AlphaTRAK is just simple and easy to use. 

The unit is a small handheld device we keep in a pouch in a cupboard. Usually, the animal has already been diagnosed with diabetes and this helps to monitor their situation. Sometimes, we keep the animal in the clinic for the day and then perform a series of different blood glucose tests every couple of hours. This is an effective way to determine if they’re being well controlled or not. 

The device runs on batteries but they last for a long time. It also turns itself off when it isn’t being used. Its biggest advantage is that it’s veterinary specific so the results are more accurate. And it’s quick—results appear in a couple of seconds. 

What’s not so good

There is a code on the strips that identifies whether it’s for a dog or a cat. Every new packet of strips has a different code and you have to re-enter it into the unit. It would be great if they could just keep a standard code for each species.

Where did you get it

Zoetis

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