How do I check my dog’s capillary refill time?

Hello Everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday! I managed to get strep throat and I have been sick in bed for the last 4 days. I am still not 100% better, but I am getting there. While I was sick I thought to myself, how would anyone know my throat hurt unless I told them?

These types of questions plague many people in the veterinary field. It would be amazing how much more we could know about our pet’s health if they could simply tell us. Since they can’t tell us how they are feeling, there is something used in veterinary medicine to get a hard and fast indication of your pet’s health, and that’s called the CRT, or capillary refill time. Before I continue, I want to establish that a good CRT doesn’t indicate a pet is in perfect health, but a bad CRT means there is definitely something wrong. In order to demonstrate how to check your dog’s CRT, I wanted to show you a video. To preface this video, a CRT will behave much like a sunburn. When you press on your sunburn, the red coloration in your skin quickly returns to the surface, this should be the case with a CRT. Without going into much scientific detail, the CRT is a good indication of dehydration, lack of blood flow, or lack of oxygen. Please forgive my congestion as I am still getting better.

To sum up the video;

1) Your pet’s CRT should be approximately 2 seconds on a regular basis

2) Any discoloration of the mucous membranes (gums) can indicate lack of oxygen, blood flow, or dehydration. Any of these situations constitute an emergency, please go directly to your veterinarian.

3) The gums can also feel “tacky”, meaning they are dry and sticky, where they should be moist like the inside of any mouth. This, along with discoloration, can constitute an emergency. Please proceed directly to your veterinarian.

4) Take the time to check your dog’s gums frequently. Knowing what they look like on a regular basis will help you if there is an emergency.

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5 Comment

  1. Reply
    barb19
    December 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Valuable information, and demo in the video was very helpful.

    1. Reply
      mykidhaspawsblog
      December 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks! I appreciate the feedback! I thought the video was the best was to explain myself. Thanks for stopping by!!

  2. Reply
    Kyla
    December 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I’m hiding this one from my peeps I don’t like anyone playing with my mouth.

  3. […] went over and checked his gum color and CRT (which I made a video on how to do so for your own pet here). His gums were nice and pink and he didn’t have any vomiting or diarrhea. When we tried to […]

  4. […] A poor CRT can indicate a lack of blood flow, oxygen, or dehydration. For more information on how to check your dog’s CRT, please click hereΒ (video […]

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