Your use of this website constitutes acknowledgement and acceptance of our Terms & Conditions. You will need a glucose meter, alcohol pads, sterile finger lancets and sterile test strips.
If your insurance plan doesn't pay for glucose meters, ask your doctor which meters he or she recommends.
For someone who has severe diabetes, continuous blood sugar monitoring may be a viable option.
The following are some suggestions on when to do SMBG testing and how to use the results to improve your blood sugar control. If you get blood from your fingertip, try washing your hands in hot water to get the blood flowing. Recommendations for the best time of day to test your blood sugar depend on your medicine, mealtimes and blood sugar control. Portions of this article were developed as part of an educational program made possible by an unrestricted educational grant from LifeScan, Inc., makers of OneTouch Blood Glucose Meters.
Portions of this article were developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians in cooperation with the American Diabetes Association.
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Your horse is a grazing animal; he needs access to grass or hay all the time, all day and all night. Straw is the dried stalks of cereal plants such as wheat or oats, but it generally contains no grain kernels (as we often see with oat hay, for example). Every forage is unique; its nutritional content will vary depending on the soil, amount of rainfall, exposure to sunlight and degree of stress.
Over the past 12 years, Equi-Analytical Labs has compiled normal ranges of key nutrients in forages. The NSC range of straw may be generally low, but it can be as high as 17.1%, which is unacceptable for the insulin resistant horse.
Alfalfa, often touted as high in sugar, has an NSC range that is reasonable and predictable. The NSC range of grass hays (both cool and warm season) is broad, highlighting the need for testing.
Grain hays (from oats, as shown above, but which can also include barley, wheat, rye and millet) tend to be quite high in NSC.


Straw may seem like the ideal way to fill in the time between hay feedings for the insulin resistant horse, but it is not likely worth the risk.
As a leader in the animal health industry, Arenus has always placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of quality, balanced nutrition to complement their product line.
Stable Management is a one-stop resource for the horse professional covering all aspects of running a successful equine business. One of these tests is called an A1C test, which reflects your blood sugar (or blood glucose) control over the past 2-3 months.
Using a blood glucose monitor to do SMBG testing can help you improve control of your blood sugar levels. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved meters that work without pricking your finger. With these systems, blood sugar is measured constantly through a sensor placed beneath the skin that transmits information. Testing times are based on the kind of medicine you take and on how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. When you are sick, even without eating, your sugar levels may run high, so testing is important.
Continue testing more often until you have maintained your SMBG goal values for at least 1 week, or until your doctor advises you that more frequent testing is no longer necessary. Left with an empty stomach, the horse may develop ulcers, be prone to colic, experience laminitis or its relapse, and exhibit sensitive, irritable behavior.
It is not a worthwhile food source mainly because it is very high in lignin, a fibrous substance that binds nutrients and cannot be digested by the microbial population in the horse’s hindgut. Consequently, testing is the only true way to know what is in your hay, or what is in straw. Forage safety cannot be assumed; testing is the only way to take the guesswork out of feeding. Testing your A1C level every 3 months is the best way for you and your doctor to understand how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. Different meters work differently, so be sure to check with your doctor for advice specifically for you.
However, with some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh or the fleshy part of your hand. You may also want to keep track of what you have eaten, when you took medicine or insulin, and how active you have been during the day.


If you have an overweight horse, the hormonal stress response to forage restriction will actually keep him from losing weight. The NDF (neutral detergent fiber) value of straw tends to be high, meaning it is not digestible, and hence, provides few calories. Some straw will test low enough in sugar and starch to best safe to feed to an insulin resistant horse, but oftentimes this is not the case.
Since NSC includes fructans (which do not significantly contribute to blood insulin levels), this second indicator is worth evaluating, especially if the NSC value of your forage is slightly above 12%. And because it is extremely dry and coarse, feeding it increases the risk of the horse developing colic. Every person who has diabetes should have a blood glucose monitor (also called a home blood sugar meter, a glucometer, or a glucose meter) and know how to use it. You'll also check it more often when you feel sick or stressed, when you change your medicine or if you're pregnant.
But, before it reaches the horse’s hindgut, the carbohydrates, fats and protein are extracted and digested inside the small intestine. Most farms (unless they use it as bedding) do not have enough straw on hand to warrant testing it, so feeding it may not be worth the risk. A better way is to test your grass hay to confirm that it is suitable to feed free-choice, thereby feeding your horse the way his predecessors remained healthy for millions of years.
She is the Contributing Nutrition Editor for the Horse Journal, and is available for private consultations and speaking engagements. If you want to pay a little more money, you can get a meter that stores the results in its memory. Talk with your doctor about what is a good range for your blood sugar level and what to do if your blood sugar is not within that range.
Non-structural carbohydrates (NSC), which include sugars, fructans and starch, are a concern when feeding the insulin resistant horse.
And for the growing community of horse owners and managers who allow their horses free choice forage feeding, Dr. Getty has set up a special forum as a place for support, celebrations, congratulations, and idea sharing.



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