Healthcare Industry News: AlphaTRAK
News Release - February 21, 2006
Abbott Launches First Complete Blood Glucose Monitoring System Designed for Diabetic Cats and DogsAlphaTRAK(TM) Meter Calibrated Especially for Unique Properties of Animal Blood; Provides Convenient, Accurate Blood Glucose Results for Vets and Pet Owners
LAS VEGAS, Feb. 21 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Today at the 78th Annual Western Veterinary Conference, Abbott announced the launch of the AlphaTRAK(TM), the first complete hand-held blood glucose monitoring system designed specifically for diabetic cats and dogs. The AlphaTRAK allows veterinarians and pet owners to test pets' blood sugar rapidly, conveniently and accurately with a very small blood sample, without relying on blood glucose meters designed for humans, which can produce widely variable and inaccurate results in pets. In head-to-head clinical evaluation, human glucose meter use in diabetic cats and dogs resulted in measurements that were off by as much as 39 percent compared to lab testing and the AlphaTRAK meter.
"This is an important step forward for blood glucose testing of diabetic dogs and cats," said Dr. Susan Sallee, a veterinarian at Grayslake Animal Hospital in Grayslake, Ill., one of the participating AlphaTRAK clinical trial sites. "While some larger veterinary clinics do have onsite general chemistry instruments for blood analysis, many do not, and using human meters to test pets is often one of the only options many vets and pet owners have for immediate results. But those results can be deceptive, and it's critical that we be as accurate as possible to avoid hypoglycemia and other dangerous blood glucose complications."
As many as one in every 200 dogs and one in every 400 cats suffer from diabetes mellitus. Like humans, these animals are susceptible to both Type I diabetes, or the inability to produce insulin, and Type II diabetes, an insensitivity to insulin. However, Type I is more prevalent among dogs and Type II is more common in cats. Regardless of type, pets with these diseases typically require daily injections of insulin to metabolize dietary glucose.
Until now, one of the most common ways to test the blood glucose levels of pets outside of the laboratory was to use hand-held blood glucose meters designed for humans. However, these meters can provide inaccurate information when measuring whole blood glucose levels in cats and dogs. At the root of the problem are the physiological differences between human and animal blood.
Hand-held glucose meters measure glucose in the entire blood sample -- glucose that is present in the plasma and the red blood cells (RBCs). The glucose from the RBCs equilibrates with the glucose from the plasma portion as the test is being performed. However, in cats and dogs, the distribution of glucose between the RBCs and plasma is significantly different than in humans. This causes the meters that are calibrated to human blood to read low. The AlphaTRAK glucose monitor has been developed to account for these differences in RBCs, thus providing extremely accurate glucose results.
The AlphaTRAK will be available to veterinarians beginning in March, and available to pet owners for in-home use through their veterinarians.
As Accurate as "Gold Standard" Reference Lab Test in Clinical Trial
In a head-to-head clinical evaluation, the AlphaTRAK was compared to two human glucose meters as well as against the Antech Laboratories reference laboratory test, which is considered the "gold standard" for animal blood glucose testing. Blood samples were taken from 452 diabetic and non-diabetic dogs and cats. These samples were tested with AlphaTRAK, the two human glucose monitors, and the Antech lab test.
On average, AlphaTRAK provided results that were statistically equivalent (+/-1%) to the Antech results, while the two human hand-held glucose meters produced results that differed by as much as 39 percent compared to the Antech results.
"Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is one of the biggest health risks facing diabetic pets," said Dr. Sallee. "Determining your diabetic pets' blood glucose profile is a common way to gauge the effects of insulin treatment, diet, and exercise. However, these factors are constantly fluctuating in a pet, making accurate blood glucose monitoring absolutely essential."
Abbott (NYSE: ABT ) is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs 60,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.
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