Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Sausage-shaped Pioneer

Tucker’s experiment continues. The implant meant to read his blood-glucose levels is still safely connected to him. He licks at it from time to time, as it probably itches, but doesn’t do anything else. From my point of view, things are progressing very well.

The physical advantages of the device are obvious. With this, I don’t have to poke Tucker in the ear every two hours (hourly, as we approach the nadir of his blood-sugar levels) to sample his blood. This continual stabbing is an inconvenient and imperfect process. Even after years of practice, I cannot guarantee a drop of blood each time. There may be blood but not enough for the test-strip to analyse. I have to gather Tucker and place him on a flat surface (in our case, the dining table) and have him lie still while I poke him; to his great credit, he almost never moves. A sudden jerk on his part, though, may ruin the process, and result in the need for another poke.

The roly poly of course dislikes this. It is painful for him (mildly, perhaps, but eight or nine pokes in the ears, even alternating ears, can cause some aching); it disturbs him, having to take him from his naps just to be stabbed, and it is demoralizing for both of us.

With the new device, however, it is simply a matter of holding the meter over the cap of the sensor. I can do it while Tucker is snoozing or eating or playing. It is quick and painless.

Furthermore, it encourages the taking of readings. The usual means, with a needle to the ear, is the opposite: it makes me want not to do it. With the electronic sensor, I want to take a reading every hour - or more frequently. And why not? Hourly readings give a better picture of the curve, and there is no fuss involved. This, I think, is the greatest advantage to the new system: the encouragement it offers to take readings.

The arrangement is, unfortunately, temporary. I am sure that the technology will be refined and, eventually, become common and long-lasting. It probably won’t happen in Tucker’s time, but at least it will allow some study to be made of his diabetes, and he himself is helping to pioneer its use in our region. Every step forward in the fight for health is a step in the right direction.


  1. That really is an amazing device. Glad to hear it's working for him.

  2. It sounds like this is a great device and that it's working well. Even though it will eventually have to be removed, you don't do a curve that frequently on Tucker, so would it be possible to have it re-implanted whenever a curve needs to be done? It would sure make things a lot easier!

    1. I don’t think the device will be available immediately after the experimental period ends, and once it is the cost might be too much. Ideally, they would stay in and need replacing every couple of weeks, I suspect, like the human versions. I wonder if that can be done at home; I’d hate to subject Tucker to veterinary visit every fortnight.

  3. Aww, look at that sweet Tucker face!
    Here's hoping the results make both of your lives that much easier.

  4. That's very cool and yes, those ear sticks are not fun for the sticker or the stickee!

  5. That device makes life so much easier for both of you. As Tucker is a guinea pig for it, they should let you use it indefinitely!

  6. That IS a sweet Tucker face just as Eastside Cars said. And I am delighted it's (sensor) is working!

  7. Bless the little fella! Bless him..!x
    And he looks so chirpy to..Bless!x

  8. Sounds like the monitor is a great option for Mr Tucker. Do you have an option to keep it?

  9. Look at that sweet face! ♥

    This is fabulous. The more that all aspects of veterinary medicine can be advanced, the better. And of course these readings are ever so much easier for both cat and human, as you've pointed out. I have my fingers crossed that you get all the readings (and results) that you want. Smooches to Tucker!

    BTW, did you happen to see a recent news report about a dog that had a brain tumour removed, and rather than a metal plate fitted to replace part of his skull, the vet used a 3-D printer to make the replacement "bone." Amazing. The dog is healthy and happy, fully recovered, and the cost to his humans was far less than a metal plate, which apparently can cost tens of thousands of dollars!

  10. It does sound like a much less invasive way to monitor Tucker.
    Hourly ear pricks sound unpleasant even for humans that understand
    what is happening to themselves. A cat can't grasp why or what, just
    the menace. I hope this helps you know what is going on with his numbers.

  11. Sounds better than the other options, too bad it is not something that can be used longterm.

  12. Sweet boy! I'm glad this sensor is making things easier for him and for you. I hope they allow you to keep it long term.

  13. Kudos to Tucker for his work. He is absolutely happy over this turn as his smiling face shows