Diabetic Foal: Human Glucose Monitor Attempt Fails

A continuous glucose monitoring device normally used in humans has proven no match for the typical foal antics of Justin Credible, a foal with the first recorded case of type-1 diabetes.

Owners David and Monica Hufana had hoped to use the monitor, which has a sensor that sits under the skin, to help them keep track of Justin Credible's glucose levels more easily (read more). Currently they are taking blood samples every four hours during the day, while a glucose monitor would automatically take levels minute by minute.

Justin's veterinarian, Nathan Slovis, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky., had attempted to attach the monitor on Dec. 30, however overnight in a stall, Justin or his mother had somehow ripped it off his skin.

"It's not a feasible device to put on a foal that is bucking and playing," said Slovis. However, he noted that the device could feasibly be used to monitoring the glucose levels of less active foals that are in the ICU.

Although not having an automatic glucose monitor is an inconvenience for the Hufanas, who must continue to take blood samples manually, Slovis said Justin is doing well and that his glucose levels have stabilized. However, as the foal grows, his treatment program will have to be adjusted.

The Hufanas have obtained a new glucose monitor that requires one third less blood to take an accurate reading. This means they no longer have to take blood from Justin's vein and can instead get enough from a prick in his ear.

"The fact that we don't have to draw blood from a vein is a major improvement," said David.

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Liz Brown

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