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Capillary Refill Time

What is capillary refill time?

Capillaries are tiny blood vessels are which are close to the surface of the skin. It is the capillaries which give the skin it's pink colour.

Capillary refill time (CRT) is a simple method to determine the amount of blood flow to tissue.

How do I check the capillary refill time on my cat?

The best place to check the capillary refill time is on your cat's gums. To do this, lift up your cat's upper lip and press the flat of your finger against the gum tissue. Remove the pressure and you will see a white mark on the gum where your finger was placed. Using a watch with a second hand, time how long it takes for the pink colour to return to the white spot. In the healthy cat, it should take around 1 - 2 seconds to return to pink.

What is the normal capillary refill time in cats?

1 - 2 seconds is normal.

2 - 4 seconds is moderate to poor.

More than 4 seconds is an emergency.

Less than 1 second is an emergency.

Will checking the capillary refill time cause discomfort to my cat?

No.

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