AlphaTRAK for Home Glucose Monitoring in Pets
Ruth MacPete, DVM, Azi Chegini, and Brittney Cirone share their experience with AlphaTRAK for home blood glucose monitoring and emphasize its ease of use and reliability, further summarizing the importance of home monitoring in managing diabetes in pets and in empowering pet owners to take control.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Dr. MacPete, you walked me through the process. They get their device from you, but which device do you use?
Ruth MacPete, DVM: I usually recommend that they use AlphaTRAK. This is a device, a home monitoring glucometer, that is specifically calibrated for dogs and cats, which is really important. We want to make sure they’re using the right tools so that we’re getting the most accurate data possible.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: It actually comes that way, packaged for the owner.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: Yes.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: This is not something that we have to jury-rig.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: No, the package has instructions and information. We’re going to teach them how to use that, but there is a guide and everything that talks to them about how to do it as well.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: And then, when you get those results, you know because it is AlphaTRAK that they are specifically calibrated for dogs and cats. They’re something you can trust, that you can base your decisions on.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: Yes. One other thing is that there’s an app, a pet dialogue app, that people can actually record the data in. We were talking about logging it on a piece of paper, or they can use this app where they record the data—the glucose information as well as the clinical signs—and that can be given to their veterinarian as well. We’re trying to make this as easy for people as possible so that they can really keep track of the data, the clinical signs, and the glucose in the blood as well as urine so that we can really monitor their pet the best way possible.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Azi, is that the device you use? Is it the AlphaTRAK?
Azi Chegini: I’m feeling so proud right now. Yes, yes, it’s the same device.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: How has your experience been with it?
Azi Chegini: It’s fantastic. I think one of the important things you said that I tell everyone as I come across signs that they’re challenged with this situation is, “You don’t want to use just anything, you want to use something that has been calibrated for animal.” That’s really important because if the number that you’re getting is not something you count on, that’s money wasted.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: Yes. You can say that.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Has that been your experience as well, that AlphaTRAK is the one we recommend?
Brittney Cirone: I find that I personally, and my clients, find AlphaTRAK very user-friendly and very easy to understand and use.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Great. We already heard Azi. Azi would recommend home monitoring; she’d recommend home monitoring with AlphaTRAK to anyone who’s asking. Just how important is it to you that people actually do home monitoring? Is it something that you think is just really important, or is it something we can do or not do? What do you think?
Brittney Cirone: I think at-home monitoring is a great tool for us and for owners and for our companions here. But if it’s something that somebody really doesn’t feel comfortable with, they can always go to their vet to have them take care of it. But it is something that we do highly recommend.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Most people can overcome that initial fear.
Brittney Cirone: Most people can absolutely overcome that initial fear.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Is that what you think?
Ruth MacPete, DVM: Yes, I think it’s really important. It’s one of the things that I really try to encourage people on. When I tell someone that their pet has diabetes, I let them know that we’re going to talk to them about insulin therapy, diet modification, and at-home monitoring. With at-home monitoring, I really try to express and stress the fact that there are those advantages. Usually, one of those things is going to resonate with somebody more than the other: Either it’s the fact that they’re going to be able to prevent serious complications like low blood sugar or diabetic ketoacidosis; it’s the fact that it saves them money or time or stress; or it’s the fact that they get more accurate data and that that helps us really fine-tune the diabetes.
But there are those 3 advantages that are huge that we didn’t have the ability to do, like you mentioned. Years ago, we weren’t doing this. Medicine has come a long way, and it really allows us to better care for their pet. It really puts the owner and the pet parent as part of the team so that we’re working together to co-manage the pet so that you have a diabetic patient who looks like Spider, who’s happy as can be, looks great, and is clearly enjoying life.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Right, I agree. I do think it’s a game changer. I’m not saying that we couldn’t help Spider sometimes without home monitoring, it’s just so much better, so much easier, and so much closer to real life. We actually get to monitor them in the home environment, which is what’s so important.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: Like Britney said, we work with people, so I’m obviously not going to make someone do home monitoring. We’re going to do what someone is comfortable with. But we’re going to highly encourage it, and it’s definitely something that they change their mind on. If they don’t think they can do it right away, or if we can help them by having a technician come to their house and maybe do some of the monitoring at home, there are ways that we can work together to try to do the best thing for the pet.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Yes, and that’s what people want, right? People love their pets, they’re family members. They want to do the best thing. We’re empowering them to do that, which even from a psychological aspect—I think you talked about that Azi—is important. We’re empowering you to take control of your pet’s condition, and the 2 of you are now a great team.
Azi Chegini: Absolutely. And if I may add, if I’m part of the team and if I’m accountable to do something where she’s trusting me and telling me to do, if I’m responsible for it, then my skin’s in the game. I’m going to do better, I’m going to be more accountable, and I’m going to care and look for things rather than sit back and say, “It’s your responsibility, I don’t need to worry about it,” especially when it’s a management of the disease, not really getting rid of it.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Spider, what do you think about home monitoring?
Azi Chegini: He loves it. Yeah.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: You get treats, don’t you, with home monitoring?
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Thank you so much.