AlphaTrak vs Human Glucose Meter – Part I

The debate between using a human meter vs the AlphaTrak has been floating around the internet for a while now. Most of the theories I’ve read about is the dog/cat meters just cost more due to the fact that the meter is for a dog/cat (just a marketing ploy). But I’ve never seen any hard evidence that proves a human meter works just as well as the AlphaTrak for testing glucose levels on a dog.

As recommended by my Vet I’ve always used the AlphaTrak. As an inexpensive way of testing glucose levels for patients they tried several human meters before the AlphaTrak came out. The human meters all provided a rough accuracy but not the accuracy of the AlphaTrak.

To get to the bottom of this debate and see if human meters do stand up to the AlphaTrak I’ll be conducting tests and write a series of article over the next coming months. My friends over at American Diabetes Wholesale have sent me four meters to start testing with. FreeStyle Lite (made by Abbott, same as the AlphaTrak), Glucocard Vital, Nova Max Link, and Bayer Contour.

Unboxing and Reviewing.
After reading the instructions and testing out each meter, all of them pretty much function the same way. The test strip is inserted into the meter, meter turns on, blood sample is applied to the test strip, and then wait for results. All measurements are done in mg/dl. Some have advanced features such as downloadable results, meal timers, and more but I won’t be going into any of that.

Initial Results
I was able to do an all day test of Bender with the AlphaTrak and FreeStyle Lite. Here are the results.
AlphaTrak Vs FreeStyle Lite 1.11.2011

These results don’t tell the whole story. This is the first test and I was only able to test 5 times. With that in mind… Looking at the results the FreeStyle lite is off by roughly 50-75 points at these numbers. But what about higher numbers? or really low numbers?

You will also see I’m missing a few things. I wasn’t able to get enough blood from Bender after exercising him to test both the AlphaTrak and FreeStyle Lite. I try not to lance Bender too much, and after several tries I just stop. Especially since I only lance his ears. Which is why there isn’t a reading at 6:00pm when I feed Bender. I couldn’t get any blood out of him.

I will continue to test Bender over the coming months with all the meters vs my AlphaTrak and post the results. In the mean time if you have any results for the AlphaTrak vs other meters please share them.

55 Responses to “AlphaTrak vs Human Glucose Meter – Part I”

  1. P.s… I do have the alpha monitor…. I hadn’t used it too much up until the last few weeks, but anytime I feel the need to use it, I do the control test and usually very soon after, I take it to the vets office and have them compare to their reading in her. They are usually very close to the same. As we all know, it appears they will never be right on with each other…

  2. Jeff Mendelsohn


    I still monitor this blog. Just been too busy to post. :o(

    First, what food are you feeding Jodi? Do you exercise Jodi at all? Is she overweight?

    A few things from my experiences. Bender’s glucose levels fluctuate depending on a lot of things such as exercise, weather, his health. One day he was in the 400′s. Nothing changed. I was running him 3 miles, same amount of food. I upped his insulin. After a few days he was crashing and I had to lower his insulin.

    I’ve also had, I wouldn’t say bad insulin but maybe not as potent. I’m having to up his insulin but as soon as I open a new bottle, he crashes and I need to drop insulin amounts again.

    As for the loss of sight. I couldn’t say, I’m not a vet. But most dogs with age, lose their sight.

  3. I have a 7 year old pug/mini pinscher mix. She was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago and has been on a sliding scale of NPH insulin. Her sugars were good to begin with, but then slowly went higher and higher. The Vet kept changing her sliding scale, the dog would do better, then the highs would start again. I FINALLY got the vet to add Regular insulin to her sliding scale about three weeks ago and her numbers have vastly improved. Now she is much better. She also eats Orijen Adult and loves it.

  4. Lauren Hoshoian

    My 9 year old Mini Schnauzer has recently been diagnosed with Diabetes, so much to learn!! 3 weeks into it, he is still not regulated, his blood sugar levels are up and down all over the place. just changed his dosage to 6 units and will curve hime in a week to see if he is levelling off. Our Vet (in Canada) says “no need to buy monitor” as once he is regulated we only need to check him every 3 months or so????? We will travel to Florida this winter for a couple of months and will order the Alpha Track 2 while there…Do I need a prescription in the US. Did you do a Part II or Part III to the Glucose Monitor testing…I would love to read it.

  5. Jeff Mendelsohn


    You don’t need a prescription to buy an AlphaTrak 2. In fact you don’t need a prescription in the US to buy insulin.

    As for your Vet saying you don’t need a monitor and that your dog only needs to be checked every 3 months, I don’t believe that is correct. From personal experience, being able to check your dog’s glucose levels at home can help you keep them regulated even better and will save you a lot of money.

    Glucose levels can change drastically depending on the amount of exercise, food intake, and other factors such as stress. Depending on the dog, you might need to adjust insulin levels every day, every week, or every month.

    Being able to test at home will also help you understand your dog’s diabetes better. You will know when he peaks, when he is low, You will be able to figure out what his normal glucose cycle is.


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