The color of your pet’s Mucous Membranes and Capillary Refill Time, also known as CRT, are two very easy and very important vitals that you should know how to assess on a regular basis, but especially in an emergency! Checking Mucous Membranes and CRT is one of the important tools for an instant glance at your dog’s underlying internal health.
Mucous Membranes is a fancy way to say gum color and should on a regular basis, be the color of “bubble gum” pink. The following is a list of the different colors that you may witness and what each of those colors might indicate.
Pink/Black – normal
Yellow – Jaundice/Liver Problems
White – Anemia/Shock
Blue/Gray – Hypoxic (low oxygen)/Shock
Getting your pet’s Capillary Refill Time (CRT) helps you to assess their blood pressure or the time that it takes for the capillaries in their gums to “refill” with blood. When a pet’s CRT is prolonged, it can indicate that their blood flow is not adequate to sustain proper health. Normal refill time is usually 1.5 – 2 seconds. If it takes longer than that it may indicate your pet is in or going into shock or may have certain heart diseases. You can also get your own personal CRT by pressing on one of your thumb nails with your other thumb. You will see the pink color blanche white when you push down and when you release, it will “refill” to pink very quickly. This is the same concept on your pet, but you push on the pink part of their gums instead of your thumb. Some pets have varying amounts of black gums and although black color on the gums is normal, you will not be able to use this to assess a CRT. Just find a pink area (even a small area will work) to use when checking vitals.