Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Glucose meter use

Contributor(s): David Bruyette, Dr Linda Fleeman


Portable glucose meter

  • These meters use either electrochemical or photometric methods to generate an electric current after enzymatic oxidation of the glucose molecules in the sample.
  • Typically plasma glucose is estimated after separation of blood cells from plasma.
  • Meters designed for use in humans assume that plasma and erythrocytes each contain 50% glucose. However, in dogs the glucose distribution between erythrocytes and plasma is 12.5% and 87.5% respectively, and so meters designed for human blood tend to underestimate the true blood glucose concentration in dogs. 
  • Veterinary glucose meters provide more accurate results for dog blood than those designed for humans and so are recommended for use in veterinary clinics. They also tend to have the advantage of requiring a smaller sample volume.
  • Glucose meters designed for human use are a cheaper option for monitoring blood glucose at home. However, there is variability in the accuracy of different meters for use in dogs and so correlation of results from each meter with results from a veterinary diagnostic laboratory is recommended prior to use. Nevertheless, the differences in results from the true blood glucose result are often within clinically acceptable ranges.



  • Rapid 'patient-side' blood glucose result.
  • Requires only a small blood volume.


  • Glucose meters designed for human use give lower results in dogs than the true blood glucose concentration.
  • Anemia Hematology: red blood cell count causes falsely high results and so potentially masks hypoglycemia.


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Further Reading


Referred papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Kang M H, Kim D H, Jeong I S et al (2016) Evaluation of four portable blood glucose meters in diabetic and non-diabetic dogs and cats. Vet Q 36 (1), 2-9 PubMed.
  • Mori A, Oda H, Onozawa E et al (2016) Evaluation of portable blood glucose meters using canine and feline pooled blood samples. Pol J Vet Sci 19 (4), 707-713 PubMed.
  • Tauk B S, Drobatz K J, Wallace K A et al (2015) Correlation between glucose concentrations in serum, plasma, and whole blood measured by a point-of-care glucometer and serum glucose concentration measured by an automated biochemical analyzer for canine and feline blood samples. JAVMA 246 (12), 1327-1333 PubMed.
  • Brito-Casillas Y, Figueirinhas P, Wiebe J C et al (2014) ISO-based assessment of accuracy and precision of glucose meters in dogs. JVIM 28 (5), 1405-1413 PubMed.
  • Domori A, Sunahara A, Tateno M et al (2014) The clinical utility of two human portable blood glucose meters in canine and feline practice. Vet Clin Pathol 43 (1), 55-62 PubMed.
  • Zeugswetter F K & Karlovitz S (2014) Buccal glucose measuremanets in dogs using safety lancets for blood sampling. Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere 42 (3), 174-179 PubMed.
  • Surman S & Fleeman L M (2013) Continuous glucose monitoring in small animals. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 43 (2), 381-406 PubMed.
  • Cohen T A, Nelson R W, Kass P H et al (2009) Evaluation of six portable blood glucose meters for measuring blood glucose meters in canine and feline practice. Vet Clin Pathol 235 (3), 276-80 PubMed.
  • Johnson B M, Fry M M, Flatland B et al (2009) Comparison of a human portable blood glucose meter, veterinary portable blood glucose meter, and automated chemistry analyzer for measurement of blood glucose concentrations in dogs. JAVMA 235 (11), 1309-1313 PubMed.
  • Casella M, Wess G, Reusch C E (2002) Measurement of capillary blood glucose concentrations by pet owners: a new tool in the management of diabetes mellitus. JAAHA 38 (3), 239-245 PubMed.
  • Stein J E & Greco D S (2002) Portable blood glucose meters as a means of monitoring blood glucose concentrations in dogs and cats with diabetes mellitus. Clin Tech Small Anim Pract, 17 (2), 70-72 PubMed.
  • Wess G & Reusch C (2000) Capillary blood sampling from the ear of dogs and cats and use of portable meters to measure glucose concentration. JSAP 41 (2), 60-66 PubMed.