Screening methods are needed for immediate field assessment of affected seabirds during oil spills. We compared the accuracies of 4 handheld blood glucose monitors—Accu-Chek Advantage, Glucometer Elite, Precision QID, and Sure Step—with that of Chemstrip bG for blood glucose determination in seabirds. Study subjects were 44 healthy, adult rhinoceros auklets (Cerorhinca monocerata) housed at a wildlife health center. Handheld monitors were at least as accurate as the commonly used Chemstrip bG method in estimating plasma blood glucose concentrations, although the glucose measurements were significantly lower (P < .05), averaging 33% lower, than those determined by the chemistry reference laboratory. Costs of monitors and test strips were similar, but the Accu-Chek Advantage and Precision QID monitors were the easiest to use and gave reliable glucose measurements (coefficients of variation, <7%). These 2 monitors were used in subsequent evaluations of the effect of anticoagulants and the effect of time interval between sample collection and blood glucose determination. Storage of blood in heparin was preferable to ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid because it did not significantly (P > .05) alter blood glucose values. Storage of blood for up to 4 hours in a heparinized Microtainer tube at room temperature also produced minimal changes in glucose concentration. We found that electronic, handheld blood glucose monitors underestimate blood glucose concentrations of rhinoceros auklets by 33% in comparison with reference values. However, these monitors are reliable, give results comparable with the Chemstrip bG, and are potentially useful tools for screening purposes in the field during an oil spill.
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Vol. 16 • No. 4