Sweet! Veterinary Glucometers Accurate for Horses and Foals

Veterinary glucometers provide accurate and precise blood glucose measurements in healthy and sick horses and foals, reported a Colorado State University research team led by Eileen Hackett, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, Dipl. ACVECC.

Hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and glucose variability are major problems in emergency medicine and are associated with morbidity and mortality.

"Accurate methods of glucose determination are important to provide veterinarians with a means to recognize hyper- and hypoglycemia in horses and foals," explained Hackett.

In their recent study, the veterinary glucometer AlphaTRAK (manufactured by Abbott Animal Health) accurately measured blood glucose concentrations in horse and foals compared to the traditional chemistry analyzer.

"Of the 100 horse and neonatal foal samples analyzed, 97% of the glucometer values obtained in our study would have resulted appropriate clinical decisions," Hackett said.

Glucometers are beneficial because they:

  • Allow immediate point-of-care, patient-side clinical decision making;
  • Permit frequent monitoring;
  • Decrease costs and time required for analysis of glucose levels compared to traditional methods;
  • Require little blood, and
  • Are easy to use.

Since veterinary glucometers had not yet been evaluated in clinical trials, Hackett and colleagues compared glucose measurements from a veterinary glucometer to a standard reference plasma chemistry analyzer.

The study authors advised that equine hospitals should follow manufacturer's instructions to obtain consistent and comparable results to clinical laboratory blood glucose measurements.

The study, "Evaluation of a veterinary glucometer for use in horses," was supported by Abbott Animal Health and is scheduled to be published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. The abstract is available online.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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