A male koala named Quincy at San Diego Zoo has received new technology to manage his type one diabetes.
Experts from Scripps Health, Dexcom, and San Diego Zoo came together to fit the koala with a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM), an innovative product that monitors blood glucose levels in real time, linked to a smart device.
The device began shipping to people with diabetes earlier this month, and has built-in alerts that notify users of dangerous blood glucose levels.
Cora Singleton, senior veterinarian at San Diego Zoo, said: “Very few koalas have been diagnosed with and treated for diabetes.
“Quincy currently requires insulin injections, which are based on his blood sugar level. With a continuous glucose monitor, we may be able to monitor Quincy’s glucose levels throughout the day without having to disturb him.
“We are hopeful that this technology will work as well in koalas as it does in people.”
Keepers said the application of the monitor went smoothly, and they look forward to having information that will help them develop a treatment plan for Quincy’s condition.
Traditionally, glucose monitoring has been carried out using a finger-prick blood metre, which some patients need to use up to 12 times a day.
The CGM provides glucose levels, glucose change, and alerts users when glucose levels are too low or too high.
Peter Simpson, vice president of advanced technology at Dexcom, said: “You can imagine what this technology means for Quincy, and any person trying to manage this challenging disease.
“Just like Quincy’s veterinarian, people with diabetes and their family or friends can monitor their glucose levels from a mobile device, providing around-the-clock safety and peace of mind.”
Koalas are solitary animals and normally sleep during the day.
San Diego Zoo keepers hope the new sensor will allow them to acquire more detail on Quincy’s glucose levels while reducing the number of times they have to disturb him.