Tools of the trade: FreeStyle Libre


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

blood glucose monitoring system

by Dr Karen Harkin, Matraville Veterinary Practice, NSW

This is a blood glucose monitoring system that comes with a sensor and a reader. It’s a very easy and accurate way to monitor our diabetic patients.

What’s good about it

The traditional way of measuring blood glucose was to bring the animal into the clinic where we would take blood using a needle and syringe. Newly diagnosed cases may need to spend a day in the hospital, and we would collect blood every one to two hours. For some animals, particularly cats, that’s stressful and blood glucose can be affected by stress.

The benefit of this system is that the sensor is attached to the animal with a small catheter that goes under the skin. The reader picks up the readings from the sensor so it’s constantly measuring the blood glucose level. It takes frequent readings over a 24-hour period.

The readings can be taken at home where the animal is unstressed. The results show what’s happening when the animal is sleeping, exercising and just laying around. The sensor will continue taking measurements for up to two weeks. It’s a much better way to collect that information rather than having the animal in hospital for a 10- or 12-hour period. In most cases, the animal is stabilised more quickly than using the old system as multiple changes to the amount of insulin given can occur during the period the sensor is attached.

The sensor is just a small disc that’s anchored with surgical glue to the back of the animal. Most animals tolerate it very well. 

What’s not so good

This system is designed for use with humans so it would be great to get one that was meant for animals with research data to confirm the accuracy of results. There can be occasions when the animal scratches off the sensor and sometimes it just stops working. Once it comes off, it can’t be reattached. You just have to put on a new one.

Where did you get it

FreeStyle Libre


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here