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What Happens During a Dog's blood Glucose Curve

Updated on January 7, 2009

If your dog was just recently diagnosed with diabetes, very likely your veterinarian will request a blood glucose glucose curve test in order to monitor glucose levels and prescribe the appropriate insulin type, dosage and frequency. Owners are often surprised when they are told that their dog must be hospitalized for this test. In effect, in order for this test to be accurate, the veterinarian will require frequent blood samples from your dog periodically during the day. In general, blood will be drawn every 2-4 hours in order for the test to be reliable.

A blood glucose curve test generally requires a 24 hour hospitalization. The blood tests are not painful but some dogs are more sensitive to the needle prick than others  and may resent the continuous pricking throughout the day. A dog that may become too stressed during the tests may cause inaccurate results due to the fact that stress increaces the blood glucose level. In this case, sensitive dogs may avoid being pricked all day by simply inserting a special catether that will allow blood sampling.

The dog's blood glucose levels are carefully recorded as each sample is drawn. There is no need to send these samples to an outside laboratory, most veterinary hospitals are able to read the results "in house". Special attention is given to the levels recorded right before meals and particularly after meals, as in this last case, it is when the levels are usually higher. For this reason insulin is recommended to be given right after meals.

The veterinarian will try to replicate the  dog's usual routine as at home. The dog will be fed the same food and at the same times and will be provided the usual exercise regimen. The ultimate goal is to maintain optimal blood glucose levels between 5 and 10-12 mmol/l between insulin injections.

Dogs diagnosed with diabetes will need routine blood glucose curve tests for all their lives as insulin adjustements must be done periodically as glucose levels fluctuate throughout the dog's life.


Controlling diabetes through insulin can be a great diabetes management plan. A blood glucose curve may help make fundamental adjustements. A too low  insulin dosage may cause poor mananagement and a too high insulin dosage may cause hypoglycemia and potentially coma and death. A blood glucose curve will therefore, provide a good assessment on the proper  custom made insulin dosage for your dog's ideal diabetes control.


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