About a month ago my AlphaTrak meter started giving me an “Er4” message when I turned it on. After an extensive search of the internet I came to the conclusion the “Er4” message was as vague as the instruction manual’s explanation. “Problem with the meter” OR “Problem with the test strip” Considering the error appears immediately before I even put a test strip into the meter I’m guessing the issue is with my meter.
It got me thinking about product life. Flipping the meter over I found out it was made in December 2005. That means the meter is 6yrs old. I bought it in March 2009, so I got roughly 2.5yrs worth of use out of it after it sat on the shelf for 3.5 yrs. Not very long. But considering how much it has saved me at the vet but more importantly how much it has helped regulate Bender’s blood sugar, I’m not mad about having to replace it after 2.5yrs of use. At the time I paid $89 for the meter. That’s about ONE vet visit to get a glucose curve done. So being able to do a curve any time I want is a huge savings.
But that still doesn’t answer the question, how long should I use a meter before replacing it? Let’s think about it… With the use of any electronic it will slowly wear out. Even if you take care of it and no matter how well it is built. As the meter slowly wears out it will be less and less accurate. With that in mind, there are two sides, use the meter until that day it becomes inaccurate. If you are doing your up keep and checking to make sure your meter is accurate every 6-8 months, then it might last until it just stops working. On the other side, you might want to replace it every 3yrs for the soul reason that technology is always getting better.
My question to you is how long has your AlphaTrak meters lasted?
I just bought ours in Nov 2011. However I have an iteresting tid bit. I took Mandy in to have the vet take her BG bc when I did it was reading 88. So they did and theirs (AlphaTrax as well as mine) read 280? Then the took it again, on theirs, it read 60, and again 400. So they called the manufacture an found out that dust can get into the slot where the strips go and mess up the reading. Just and FYI.
So did you end up buying another AlphaTrak? We’ve been getting that dreaded ‘Er4’ message for a while now… and sometimes I can get a usable blood glucose reading, but I think it’s becoming unreliable. Same problem as you, getting the message when I turn it on without a strip as well as with a strip. Was going to look into my options with regards to different meters, but our vet uses the AlphaTrak so I’ll probably just get another… Ugh. Wish there was a higher demand so we could have more options!
Erin, I did buy another AlphaTrak. Really its the only meter out there that is good and for dogs/cats. There is the iPet Glucose Meter from UltiCare, unless they have made some major improvements, I don’t recommend it. It just doesn’t compare to the AlphaTrak.
You can read about it here: http://www.diabeticdogblog.com/?p=154 and http://www.diabeticdogblog.com/?p=159
Beyond that any human meter will give you inaccurate results or not read the blood at all.
I went ahead and bought the new AlphaTrak 2 – haven’t seen many reviews on it, yet. My vet still uses the original, but this new one is supposed to be better. So we’ll see! 🙂
Oh man, I didn’t know they came out with a new AlphaTrak. I wonder if you can still use the Freestyle light strips with it because the AlphaTrak strips are still like $55.
Thanks for sharing! Let me know how the AlphaTrak 2 compares to the first one!
Could you please explain why human meters are not supposed to be good for our dogs? Even my vet uses the human one.
The short answer is that human meters will not accurately measure glucose levels in dogs because their blood is different.
Check out: http://www.diabeticdogblog.com/?p=197 for further discussion.
Last week, while my vet’s one vet tech was training me on how to use their older loaner alpha trak it gave an ER4. They read the manual and tried inserting a 2nd strip and then tried turning on without a strip and still ER4. They then said something like “When in doubt check the power source.” and replaced the battery. The unit started up correctly even when they re-inserted the first strip and second strip. Additional details which may or may not matter. It is an older meter plain white rev c manufactured on 8/08. When I initially asked to borrow one they told me that theirs where all out but somebody had one for 7 months. During the learn to use visit, the vet tech mentioned that the borrower had not used it in a while, so I suspect that if the battery runs too low it gives an ER4 instead of the low battery icon.)
I received the same E4 error message on my Alphatrak meter. I removed the button battery and checked it. It checked out OK. So, I reinserted it back into the meter, and the E4 message disappeared. So, try removing and reinserting the battery to see if you can get rid of the E4 error message. You might also want to check the button battery as well.