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About glucose curves

The glucose curve is an ideal tool for differentiating the problem of short duration of insulin activity versus Somogyi effect. It helps to determine insulin effectiveness, and the maximum and minimum levels of glycemia, which should ideally be between 100–250 mg/dL (5.6–13.9 mmol/L) for the majority of the day. Try our online glucose curve generator.

When creating a glucose curve, remember that stress can affect the reliability of results and the glucose curve is only one tool among others that can help diagnose and monitor canine diabetes mellitus.

How to complete a glucose curve

Feed and inject the dog with Vetsulin® (porcine insulin zinc suspension) as it is done at home. This may be done by the owner and then verified by the veterinarian. If the dog exercises at home during the day, the same exercise routine should be adhered to while the dog is in the clinic.

Blood sampling:

  • Just prior to insulin administration
  • Then, in at least 60 to 120 minute intervals
  • Over a period of 12 hours, ideally for 24 hours

How to interpret a glucose curve

It helps to determine:

  • Insulin effectiveness. Maximum and minimum glycemia, which should ideally be between 100 and 250 mg/dL (5.6–13.9 mmol/L).

Glucose nadir goal:

  • 100–150 mg/dL (5.6–8.3 mmol/L)

Duration of insulin action:

  • From the injection to a glycemia of 250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L)
  • Goals: Once daily 20 hours; twice daily 10-12 hours

Measuring blood glucose

Two different options:

  1. Collect a venous blood sample from a peripheral vein. Plasma glucose concentrations are measured in the laboratory (“gold standard”).
  2. Collect a drop of capillary blood from the ear (pinna), or sometimes the inner lip or elbow callus, and analyze this using a handheld blood glucose meter (glucometer).
    • Glucometers should be calibrated specifically for dogs and cats because of the difference in the ratios of glucose in plasma and red blood cells from humans.
    • Readings may vary by as much as 15% from samples submitted to the laboratory.
    • Handheld meters are reasonably accurate. If a reading seems unusual or does not match the clinical signs, a second reading should be taken or another method used to confirm the blood glucose measurement.

Management goals

Management of canine diabetes can be considered successful when the clinical signs of diabetes mellitus improve.

Routine rechecks

After the animal has been stabilized successfully, routine rechecks should be carried out around every 2–4 months.

Careful monitoring and control during maintenance will help to limit the long-term complications associated with diabetes.

Blood glucose concentrations

The aim of therapy is not to produce a series of blood glucose concentrations that are within the reference range but to produce a blood glucose curve that approaches the reference range, avoiding potentially fatal hypoglycemia.

An example of a stable diabetic dog is a blood glucose range of 100–250 mg/dL (5.6–13.9 mmol/L) for most of a 24-hour period.

Ideal blood glucose curve

Below is an example of an ideal blood glucose curve for a dog on once-daily dosing where the range remains between 100–250 mg/dL for most of the 24-hour period. Please note that for a dog on twice-daily dosing the curve will appear very similar, but just within a 12-hour time period.

Blood glucose measured in mg/dL
Click on thumbnail for full image:

Not all blood glucose curves will be ideal at first. For examples of additional blood glucose curve results, please select one of the following: