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Glossary

A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O |P-S | T-V | W-Z

 

A- C

abdomen 
The belly.

abdominocentesis 
Placing a needle into the abdominal (belly) cavity to check for the presence of abnormal fluid.

abrasions 
Wounds that are not through all the layers of the skin.

abscess 
An accumulation of pus.

acanthosis nigricans 
Thickened, lichenified, seborrheic and greasy lesions which begin as small brown patches in the axilla and progresses to involve the hindlegs, chest and flanks. Most frequently seen in Dachshunds, also in Setters, Lhaso apsos, and others.

acariasis 
Infestation with mites.

accidental host 
Humans are not part of the life cycle, they accidentally entered into that organisms life cycle and got the disease. Examples: ringworm, rabies.

acne, feline 
Lesions seen most often on the chin. Acne may be a manifestation of a keratinization disorder, a primary bacterial infection, dermatophytosis, secondary to allergic skin disease, demodicosis, Malassezia dermatitis, or secondary to systemic disorders.

acquired 
A defect that happens after being born (contrasted to congenital).

acral lick dermatitis 
Lesions caused by chronic licking.

acute 
The sudden onset of signs of disease.

acute renal failure Abrev: ARF
An acute suppression of renal function. The most common causes of ARF are renal ischemia and nephrotoxicity.

adhesions 
When structures that are not normally bound together become stuck to one another.

adrenal gland 
A gland located close to the kidneys that produces several hormones including cortisol.

adrenaline 
Also known as epinephrine. A hormone that stimulates the heart and increases blood pressure.

aerobic bacteria 
Bacteria that grow only when oxygen is present.

agglutination 
An abnormal clumping of red blood cells. Often seen in patients with immune-mediated anemia.

alimentary 
Another term for the gut or intestinal tract. The alimentary tract runs from the mouth, through the esophagus to the stomach, duodenum, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus.

allergic contact dermatitis Abrev: ACD
Dermatitis caused by caustic or irritating substances. No prior sensitization is required.

alopecia 
Loss of hair.

alveolus 
Microscopic sac-like structures within the lung. The airways terminate in these sac-like structures. When blood in the lung contacts the alveoli, the blood takes up oxygen and empties waste gases that will be removed during breathing.

anaerobic bacteria 
A bacteria that grows only when oxygen is not present. 

anagen 
The phase of the hair cycle during with the hair is synthesized.

analgesia 
Refers to the absence of pain in the presence of stimuli that would be expected to be painful. In clinical practice we use the term analgesia to mean a reduction in pain

analgesic 
A drug given to reduce pain.

anaphylaxis 
A severe hypersensitivity reaction often resulting in bronchoconstriction and hypotension.

ancylostomiasis 
Hookworm dermatitis.The etiological agents are migrating 3rd stage larvae of Ancylostoma canium or Uncinaria stenocephala.

anemia 
A low red blood cell count.

anesthesia 
Loss of sensation induced by a drug. This can be loss of sensation in a body part which is called local anesthesia or loss of consciousness with general anesthesia.

anisocoria 
Pupils that are unequal in size. The problem may be caused by diseases of the eye or the nerves to the eyes.

anthelmetics 
Medications given to remove or kill worms. Also called wormers.

antibiotics 
Drugs that kill bacteria, but not viruses.

antibody 
A protein produced by the immune system to protect the body from disease caused by infectious agents (bacteria, viruses).

anticoagulants 
Drugs that reduce the ability of the blood to clot. Also called blood thinners.

anticonvulsant 
Drugs administered to reduce seizures.

antiemetics 
Drugs administered to reduce vomiting.

antifungal 
A drug used in the treatment of a disease caused by a fungus.

antigen 
A foreign protein that stimulates the body’s immune system to produce antibodies.

antipyretics 
Drugs that suppress a fever. 

antiseptic 
A mild disinfectant used on living tissues, to prevent sepsis (infection).

arrhythmia 
An abnormal heart rhythm.

arteries 
Blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the organs and tissues. Arteries contain more oxygen and nutrients than veins and are under higher pressure.

arthritis 
Inflammation of the joints.

ascites 
The accumulation of fluid in the abdominal (peritoneal)(belly) cavity.

ash 
The inorganic mineral elements of animals and plants. 

aspiration 
Inhaling foreign debris.

asystole 
Cardiac arrest.

ataxia 
Incoordination or abnormal gait. 

atopy 
Allergic inhalant dermatitis or atopic dermatitis. Allergens are true antigens which are usually inhaled or penetrate the skin as complete allergens or haptens. Allergens may also be ingested or injected.

atria 
The heart has 4 chambers; the two chambers that make up the top of the heart are the atria.

autoimmunity 
Producing an immune response against normal or altered body components.

azotemia 
The increase of waste products in the bloodstream due to kidney failure. 

bacteriocide 
A substance that kills bacteria.

benign 
Not malignant. Sometimes taken to mean noncancerous although some cancers are called benign if they do not spread to other parts of the body.

bile acids 
Substances produces by the liver and secreted in the bile that aid digestion.

bilirubin 
A substance produced when old red blood cells are destroyed in the body. Abnormal amounts of bilirubin cause jaundice and are caused by breakdown of large numbers of red blood cells or by disease of the liver or gall bladder.

biopsy 
Obtaining a piece of tissue for analysis using a specialized needle or a scalpel balde.

bolus 
The rapid administration of a fluid or drug over a short time period.

bradycardia 
An abnormally slow heart rate.

bronchi and bronchiole 
Small tubular structures that lead from the trachea to the microscopic sac-like structures, alveoli, in the lungs.

buphthalmos 
Enlarged eye caused by glaucoma.

carbuncle 
Multiple cutaneous abscesses that are connected by sinuses.

carcinoma 
A type of cancer originating from epithelial cells. Example squamous cell carcinoma originates from cells of the skin and mouth, transitional cell carcinoma originates from the cells of the bladder.

cardiac 
A synonym for heart.

cardiomyopathy 
A disease of the heart muscle. Weak heart muscle cannot pump blood normally.

cardiovascular 
The organ system that includes the heart and blood vessels.

cataract 
Abnormal cloudiness of the lens of the eye.

caudal 
Toward the tail or rear of the animal.

cerebellum 
A smaller portion of the brain responsible for balance.

cerebrum 
The major portion of the brain.

cerumen 
Waxy secretion of the apocrine glands of the ear.

cestodes 
Tape worms.

chiggers 
Common name for Trombiculidiasis.

chronic 
A disease or condition that has been present for several weeks or longer.

chronic renal disease Abrev: CRD
Irreversible renal disease caused by damage to a large part of both kidneys. Two thirds of both kidneys must be damaged before the animal loses the ability to concentrate and dilute urine.

cirrhosis 
Scar tissue in the liver. Severe cirrhosis causes liver failure.

clone 
The progeny of a single cell.

colic 
Intense abdominal pain.

colitis 
Inflammation of the large intestine (colon).

colon 
Part of the large intestine.

colostrum 
The accumulated secretions of the mammary gland over the last few weeks of pregnancy. It is rich in IgG (65-90%) with variable levels of IgA and IgM. Form of passively acquired immunity (short-lived).

commensalism 
Parasitic state in which the parasite lives with the animal without causing disease.

complete blood count Abrev: CBC
A blood test in which the number of red and white blood cells and platelets are counted.

congenital 
A defect that is present at birth. The defect may either be inherited or be caused by something during gestation.

conjunctivitis 
Inflammation of the pink tissues (conjunctiva) surrounding the eye.

contact dermatitis 
Inflammation of the skinfrom contact with an irritant.

contagious 
An infection capable of spread amongst animals by direct contact, e.g. Pasteurella spp. in nasal droplets

contusion 
Bruise.

cranial 
Refers to the head or in a direction toward the front of the animal. For example the chest is more cranial than the abdomen. The opposite term is caudal meaning closer to the rear of the animal.

crust 
Dried exudaet on the skin surface.

culture 
Evaluating a sample of fluid or tissue for bacterial growth.

cutaneous vasculitis 
Skin lesions caused by deposition and subsequent activation of soluble immune complexes along the basement membrane of blood vessels.

cyst 
A fluid-filled structure.

cystitis 
Inflammation of the bladder.

cystocercus 
The larval stage of a tapeworm encysted in muscle.

cytology 
The microscopic evaluation of cells removed from an organ or tissue.

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dacryocystitis 
Inflammation of the lacrimal sac (part of the eye) usually as a result of infection.

debride 
To clean out dead or dying tissue from a wound.

decubital ulcers 
Pressure sores, usually seen over bony prominances.

dehydration 
Loss of fluid from the bloodstream and tissues.

dermatitis 
Inflammation of the skin.

dermatophytosis 
Ringworm. Dermatophytes live and grow only on non-viable keratinized tissue (skin, hair, nails). They will not grow in living cells.

dermis 
The dermal layer of the skin that contains blood vessels, hair follicles, sebaceous glands, erector pili muscles, and apocrine sweat glands.

dermoid 
A piece of skin growing on the cornea. 

Descemet's membrane 
A clear membrane forming the inner boundary of the cornea.

descemetocele 
Very deep ulcers right down to decemets membrane.

dextrose 
Another term for sugar. 

diabetes mellitus 
Also known as sugar diabetes. An insufficient amount of insulin is produced by the pancreas resulting in a high blood sugar level.

digestive system 
An organ system that absorbs and digests food. The digestive system includes the esophagus, stomach, intestine, liver and pancreas.

disinfectant 
A germicidal chemical that destroys microorganisms and the potential infectivity of a material.

diuretics 
Drugs that increase the amount of urine produced.

duodenum 
The portion of the intestine directly attached to the stomach. 

dysphagia 
Difficulty eating and swallowing. 

dysphoria 
Agitation or restlessness. 

dyspnea 
Difficulty breathing. 

dysuria 
Difficulty urinating.

eclampsia 
Low blood calcium occuring in female dogs and cats at the end of gestation, or more commonly during early lactation. Small breed dogs are more commonly affected. Low calcium causes signs of muscle tetany.

ectoparasites 
They live outside of the body. Many of the arthropod parasites are ectoparasites; they land on your skin and cause an infestation.

ectopic 
In an abnormal location.

edema 
The presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid in the interstitial tissue spaces of the body. Edema fluid may accumulate in the subcutaneous tissues, peritoneal cavity (ascites), pleural cavity (hydrothorax) or pericardial sac (hydropericardium).

elizabethan collar 
A large plastic collar that is placed over the head of a dog or cat. It has a cone shape and is used to keep them from licking or chewing on themselves.

emesis 
A synonym for vomiting.

encephalitis 
Inflammation of the brain.

endoparasites 
They live within the animal.

endoscopy 
Passing an instrument into a cavity to see the insides.

enteral 
Delivery of drugs or nutrients to the intestinal tract by deposition in the mouth, stomach or jejunum.

enucleation 
Removing the eye from the orbit: leaves most of the orbital contents behind.

enzymes 
A substance that makes a chemical process faster. For example digestive enzymes break down food to hasten the process of digestion.

epidemiology 
The study of disease progression.

epidermis 
The top layer of skin above the dermis.

epilate 
Removing hair.

epithelial cells 
Cells that line the surface of an organ.

esophagus 
A muscular tube leading from the mouth to the stomach.

estrus 
A stage in the reproductive cycle of the female dog and cat, also known as heat.

excoriation 
Superficial loss of the epidermis caused by physical damage such as scratching.

exophthalmos 
Bulging of the eye. May be due to a space-occupying lesion that pushes the eye forward or may be a specific breed attribute (e.g. Pekingnese dogs).

exposure 
Exposure does not equal poisoning, it is the dose. If you smell ammonia you have been exposed but you have not been poisoned with ammonia gas.

extracranial 
Outside of the head.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Abrev: FIV 
A virus that chronically suppresses the immune system of cats resulting in secondary infectons.

fertility 
Capable of conceiving and bearing offspring.

fetal 
Refers to a puppy or kitten before birth.

fibrosis 
Scarring.

fissure 
Splitting of the skin surface.

fluoroscopy 
A type of radiograph (x-ray) in which motion can be seen.

FLUTD 
Feline lower urinary tract disease. A collection of signs in cats resulting in blood in the urine, straining to urinate, and urinating in abnormal locations. The older term is feline urologic syndrome (FUS).

fracture 
Break in a bone.

fungicide 
Kills fungi.

furuncle 
A painful, nodular adcess in the skin.

FUS 
Feline urologic syndrome. A collection of signs in cats resulting in blood in the urine, straining to urinate, and urinating in abnormal locations. The more current term is feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).

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gait 
The appearance of the animal as it is moving.

gastric 
Another term for stomach.

genome 
The total gene complement of a set of chromosomes. 

germs 
Microscopic organisms that can cause disease. May include bacteria and viruses.

gestation 
The duration of pregnancy.

gingivitis 
Inflammation and swelling of the gums surrounding the teeth. The gingiva are normally pink and become red when inflamed.

glaucoma 
Increased fluid accumulation in the eye causing increased pressure, pain and leading to blindness if untreated.

granuloma 
A focal inflammatory reaction.

hard-pad disease 
Crusty, dry footpads that may occur as a consequence of canine distemper infection. 

heat 
Estrus. Period of fertility when the female is receptive to the male.

hemangiosarcoma 
A cancer of blood vessels. This cancer usually occurs in the spleen, skin or sometimes the heart.

hematoma 
The accumulation of blood under the skin. 

hematuria 
Red blood cells in the urine. 

hemoglobin 
The substance contained in red blood cells that carries oxygen to parts of the body. 

hemolysis 
The breakdown of red blood cells.

hepatic 
A synonym for liver. 

hepatitis 
Inflammation of the liver. 

hernia 
The abnormal protrusion of part of an organ or tissue through the structures that normally contain it. Also called a rupture.

horizontal transmission 
Disease transmission from one animal to another. 

hydrocephalus 
The abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain. The fluid causes an increase in the pressure inside the brain and death of some brain cells.

hyper 
This prefix is used in conjunction with many terms and means an increase, for example, hyperthermia means an increase in temperature.

hyperalgesia 
Unexpected increased pain intensity from a stimulus. Excessive sensitivity to pain.

hypercalcemia 
Elevation of blood calcium.

hyperchloremia 
Elevated blood chloride.

hyperesthesia 
Increased sensitivity to stimulation. Is most commonly seen with peripheral nerve diseases, such as, tumors and polyradiculoneuritis.

hyperglycemia 
Elevated blood glucose.

hyperkalemia 
Elevated potassium.

hyperkeratosis 
Increased thickness of the horny layer of the epidermis. 

hypermagnesemia 
Elevated blood magnesium. 

hypernatremia 
Elevated blood sodium. 

hypernatremia 
Elevated blood sodium. Hypernatremia is uncommon in dogs and cats and most often is iatrogenic from the repetitive administration of high sodium containing solutions. Animals who have severe hypernatremia in excess of 170 meq/L show nervous system signs of depression progressing to coma.

hyperphosphatemia 
Elevated phosphorus. 

hypertension 
Elevated blood pressure. 

hyperthyroidism 
Increased production of thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism occurs commonly in geriatric cats but is rare in dogs.

hypertrophic 
A thickening or an enlargement of an organ. 

hyperventilation 
Fast breathing. Also called hyperpnea. 

hypo 
This prefix is used in conjunction with many terms and means a decrease, for example, hypothermia means a decrease in temperature.

hypocalcemia 
Low blood calcium. 

hypodermoclysis 
A synonym for subcutaneous. 

hypoglycemia 
Abnormally low blood glucose. 

hypokalemia 
Low potassium. 

hypomagnesemia 
Low blood magnesium. 

hyponatremia 
Low blood sodium. The most common cause is Addison's disease or iatrogenic from the administration of electrolyte free solution, such as 5% dextrose.

hypoplasia 
Smaller or softer than normal due to loss of normal tissue. 

hypotension 
Low blood pressure. 

hypothalamus 
A part of the brain. some hormones associated with reproduction are produced or stored in the hypothalamus. 

hypothyroid 
Low function of the thyroid gland.

hypotony 
Decreased intraocular pressure. 

hypovolemia 
Reduced circulating blood volume either due to blood or fluid loss or to redistribution of blood flow as occurs during shock.

iatrogenic 
Disease that was caused while trying to diagnose or treat another condition. For example, if a complication such as excessive bleeding arises during a biopsy procedure, the complication is iatrogenic.

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icterus 
A synonym for jaundice, a yellow discoloration.

idiopathic 
Unknown cause. 

iIritis 
Inflammation of the iris

immunoprophylaxis 
Administration of vaccines to confer protection against infectious agents. 

immunosuppression 
Any failure of the immune response usually becomes apparent through increased susceptibility to infection and disease.

incisions 
A wound made by something sharp like glass fragments or a scalpel blade, that penetrates all layers of the skin.

incisors 
The front teeth. 

incontinence 
The inability to hold urine in the bladder. The animal leaks urine either while awake or asleep. 

indirect transmission 
A mode of disease transmission where the environment is somehow part of the transmission cycle; i.e. contaminated water in a water trough spreads the disease.

infection 
Multiplication of organisms such as bacteria in the body usually leading to disease. 

infectious agents 
The agents that cause disease. They may be bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. 

infertility 
Inability to conceive and bear offspring. 

inflammation 
Swelling, redness, heat and pain of a body part. 

inotropic 
Affecting the force of muscle contractions. For example a positive inotropic drug increases the force of contration.

insulin 
A hormone produced by the pancreas that controls blood sugar levels. 

interdigital pyoderma 
Bacterial infections between the toes. 

intermediate host 
A host where maturation of the parasite or asexual reproduction takes place, in other words, reproduction where there is division and amplification of the parasite, but there is no sex involved.

intracellular parasites 
Parasites that reside with in the hosts cells. 

intracranial 
Inside of the head. 

intravenous 
IV. Giving a drug or other substance into a vein for a rapid effect. 

iris 
The iris forms a diaphragm in front of the lens with a central sphincter-type opening called the pupil. It functions to regulate the amount of light entering the posterior segment of the eye.

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jaundice 
Yellow discoloration due to the accumulation of abnormal amounts of bilirubin. Jaundice is seen in non-haired parts of the body; white parts of the eyes, inside the mouth and ears and on the belly. Also called icterus. 

jejunum 
The longest part of the small intestinal tract. 

jugular 
A large vein on the bottom surface of the neck that may be used to collect blood samples or to place catheters.

juvenile cellulitis 
An inflammatory disease of young (less than 4 months) puppies, characterized by inflammation and severe edema of the face, muzzle, periocular skin, and ears. 

KCS 
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Dry eye. 

keratic precipitates 
Clusters of inflammatory cells on the back (endothelial surface) of the cornea. 

keratinization disorders 
Cutaneous disorders characterized by scaling. 

keratitis 
Inflammation of the clear part of the eye, the cornea. 

keratotomy 
Removal of part of the thickness of the cornea. 

ketoacidosis Abrev: DKA
A form of diabetes mellitus in which the pet has increased amounts of acids in the blood and is very sick. 

larynx 
The voicebox. The larynx closes during swallowing to keep food out of the airways. 

latency 
A virus which remains hidden and does not cause disease but which may reactivate and cause clinical signs of disease at a later time. 

lens 
Structure in the eye which functions to transmit and focus incoming light rays directly on the retina; this is facilitated by accommodation - the subtle change in lens shape brought about by contraction and relaxation of the ciliary body; the accommodative ability of the lens is limited in domestic species. 

lethargy 
Malaise or inactivity. 

leukocytosis 
High white blood cell count. 

leukopenia 
Low white blood cell count. 

lichenification 
Thickening of the skin. 

limbic system 
A group of brain structures which exert an important influence on the endocrine and autonomic motor system's and which influence (emotion) mood states. 

lymphoma 
A cancer of the lymph glands. 

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malignancy 
Cancer. 

malignant 
A cancer that has high possibility for spread. 

mastitis 
Inflammation of the mammary gland caused by a bacterial agent. 

meconium 
Fetal manure. 

meningitis 
Inflammation of the meninges.

metritis 
Infection of the uterus. If the infection follows birthing, it is a postpartum metritis 

microphthalmos 
A small eye that has failed to develop properly. 

micturition 
A synonym for urination. 

miosis 
Small pupil. 

modified live virus Abrev: MLV
A vaccine which contains an antigenic agent that has been altered chemically of physically so it stimulates cell-mediated and humoral response without evoking disease. The altered virus can still replicate in the host. 

muco-purulent 
A discharge that is a combination of pus and mucus. 

mucosa 
The pink lining of an organ, such as the lining of the nose, mouth, vagina, penis. 

Muller's muscle 
Smooth muscle in the eyelids which provides tone to the lids. Innervated by sympathetic fibers. 

multivalent 
A vaccine containing multiple antigens. 

murmur 
An abnormal heart sound caused by abnormal blood flow. 

mutualistic 
A relationship where both participants or parties benefit. 

mycobacteriosis 
Feline leprosy caused by Mycobacterium lepraemurium. 

mycotoxins 
A toxin that is produced by a mold. 

mydriasis 
Dilated pupil. 

myelitis 
Inflammation or infection of the spinal cord. 

myelosuppression 
A suppression of the bone marrow so that it does not produce normal numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. 

myopathy 
Inflammation of muscle. 

necrosis 
Death of tissue. 

nematodes 
Round worms. 

neonate 
Refers to a young puppy or kitten shortly after birth. 

neoplasia 
Another term for cancer. 

neoplasm 
A lump or cancer. The word means "new growth". 

nephrotoxic 
A drug or chemical that causes damage to the cells of the kidneys. 

nictitans 
The third eyelid which is a fold of tissue covered by conjunctiva and containing a lacrimal gland on the inner (bulbar) surface. 

nociceptors 
Peripheral receptors for pain which sense painful stimuli and transmit signals to the central nervous system where the sensation of pain is perceived.

nodule 
A circumscribed, solid, raised lesion that involves the deeper layesr of the skin. 

non-terrestrial rabies 
Rabies in mammals that do not walk on the ground: bats. 

noncontagious Disease 
A disease that cannot be spread between animals by direct contact. 

nosocomial 
An infection contracted in the hospital. 

nosodes 
Products prepared from infected tissues, infected discharges, or a pathogenic organism, which are processed and administered orally in attempt to "vaccinate" against an infectious agent. 

notobiotic environment 
An environment with no germs whatsoever. 

noxious stimulus 
A stimulus that is potentially or actually damaging to tissue. A stimulus that is of adequate intensity to trigger a nociceptive reaction in an animal (the feeling of pain). 

obligate pathogen 
Parasite that generally will cause disease 

oliguria 
A small volume of urine produced.

oncology 
The study of cancer. 

onychomycosis 
Fungal infection of the nailbed. 

opportunistic pathogen 
Parasites that are usually harmless in their normal habitat, but can cause disease when they gain access to other body sites 

optic neuritis 
Inflammation of the optic nerve; can be unilateral or bilateral 

osteomyelitis 
An infectious disease of bone that is often of bacterial origin. 

otitis externa 
Inflammation of the external ear canal 

otoacariasis 
Ear mites. 

Otobius megnini 
The spinous ear tick may induce otitis in dogs and occasionally cats. 

otodectes cynotis 
Ear mite. 

ovary 
The part of the female reproductive tract that produces eggs (ova) and female hormones. 

ovine progressive pneumonia Abrev: OPP
A chronic inflammatory disease of the lung leading to eventual suffocation. 

ovulation 
The process of releasing eggs (ova) from the ovary. 

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palliative treatment 
Palliative treatment is given to patients with untreatable diseases in order to make them more comfortable. Includes a combination of supportive and symptomatic treatments. 

palpation 
To examine something by touching and feeling it. 

palpebrae 
Eyelids 

panniculitis 
Inflammation of subcutanious fat. Several proposed causes and is sterile in some breeds such as the Dachshund. 

papule 
A small solid elevation of the skin. Larger lesions are called nodules or tumors and if flat, a plaque. 

parakeratosis 
Abnormal process of cornification. 

paralysis 
Abnormal function of nerves resulting in an inability to walk. 

parasiticide 
Kills parasites 

parasitism 
Denotes organisms which survive and persist on or within another living organism. The parasite usually does not harm the animal. The most successful parasites achieve a balance whereby both the parasite and host animal survive. Among the parasites found on or within animals are bacteria, protozoans, fungi, mycoplasmas, rickettsia, and viruses.

paronychia 
Inflammation of the nail fold. 

paroxysmal 
The sudden onset of a symptom that reoccurs. For example paroxysmal seizures begin suddenly and occur more than once. 

parturition 
The process of giving birth. 

pathogen 
Organism that generally will cause disease

pediculosis 
Infestation with lice.

pelodera dermatitis 
Rhabditic dermatitis. Larvae of the free living nematode, Pelodera strongyloides which penetrate the skin of animals.

pericardium 
A very thin tissue surrounding the heart. Abnormal fluid can accumulate between the heart and the pericardial membrane causing pericardial effusion.

peritoneal 
The abdominal or belly cavity. 

pH 
A measure of acidity or alkalinity. Values range from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline or basic). A pH value of 7.0 is neutral (neither acidic or alkaline).

pharynx 
Back of the mouth. Throat. 

pigmentary keratitis 
The accumulation of pigment in the cornea in response to inflammation. 

pinnal dermatitis 
Skin lesions on the ears. 

pituitary gland 
A small gland located in the brain. Several hormones are produced in this gland. 

plasma 
The fluid component of anticoagulated whole blood. 

plasma cell pododermatis 
Swelling and ulceration of the foot pads. Seen most frequently in cats. 

platelets 
Small pieces of cells in the blood stream that help an animal stop bleeding when it has been injured.

pneumonia 
Inflammation of the lung. 

pneumothorax 
The abnormal accumulation of air in the chest cavity outside the lungs. 

poliosis 
Whitening of the hair. 

pollakiuria 
Frequent passage of small amounts of urine. Pollakiuria is indicative of diseases of the lower urinary tract and genital tract.

poly 
Means several or too much such as polydactyly means having too many toes. 

polyarthropathy 
Inflammatory joint disease that involves multiple joints. 

polycystic kidney disease Abrev: PKD
A disease in which kidney tissue is replaced by multiple cystic stuctures. There is an inherited form of polycystic kidney disease in Persian cats. 

polydipsia 
Drinking large amounts of water. 

polymyositis 
Inflammation of several muscles at one time. 

polyuria Abrev: PU 
Increased volume of urine. 

post-partum 
After parturition. After giving birth. 

postprandial 
The period of time immediately after eating. 

preemptive analgesia 
The administration of analgesic drugs before the onset of a painful stimulus, administered to reduce the perception of pain.

premature 
Born too early. 

prerenal azotemia 
An increase in nitrogen containing waste products in the blood caused by reduced renal blood flow as a consequence of hypovolemia or dehydration. Untreated prerenal azotemia can progress to intrinsic renal disease.

primary closure 
Suturing the raw edges of the wound together. 

prion 
Infectious protein. Scrapie in sheep, Creutzfeldt Jakob disease in humans, and Bovine Spongifor Encephalopathy in cattle (Mad Cow Disease)are all caused by prions.

procainamide 
Antiarrhythmic used in treatment of ventricular arrhythmias. (Modified: 5/19/2003) 

proestrus 
Proestrus is the beginning of the bitch’s ‘season’. The owner notices spotting or bleeding from the bitch’s vagina. The stage of the estrous cycle of the bitch during which she attracts males but will not allow the male to breed her.

prolapse 
The abnormal position of an organ in which the organ pouches through an opening from which it does not normally protrude.

protein 
Naturally-occurring compounds containing nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and sometimes sulfur or phosphorus. Proteins are made up of complex combinations of amino acids and are essential for animal growth, production and reproduction. 

protozoa 
Single-celled organisms. 

pruritus 
Itchiness. 

puberty 
When the female starts to have some reproductive activity 

purulent 
Containing pus.

pustule 
A small pus filled raised lesion. 

pyelonephritis 
A bacterial infection of the kidneys. 

pyoderma 
Skin infection with bacteria. Pyodermas involve coagulase positive bacteria, most commonly Staphylococcus intermedius.

pyometra 
Infection of the uterus.

pyometra 
Pyometra is infection of the uterus that occurs during diestrus, 3-6 weeks after ovulation. It is commonly seen in bitches older than 5 years. Pyometra is also referred to as cystic endometrial hyperplasia (CEH) which is the term descriptive of the morphological changes occurring in the uterus. Hormones, primarily progesterone which is secreted from the corpus lutei (CLs) of the ovaries during diestrus stimulate CEH.

pyrexia 
Elevated temperature, fever. 

pyuria 
White blood cells in the urine.

queen 
A female cat. When used as a verb, "to queen" describes a cat giving birth. 

reservoir 
Where a disease causing organism lives and multiplies. Therefore the reservoir may not be the source of the organism, that is only where it lives and multiplies.

respiratory transmission 
The most common route of human exposure in countries where infection is controlled in animals and where there is pasteurization of milk.

route of administration 
The way a drug is administered to an animal; i.e. orally, intramuscularly, intravenously.

route of infection 
The manner by which an infectious agent gains access to the animal. 

sarcoma 
Cancer originating from fibrous tissues. 

sclera 
The white part of the eye beneath the upper eyelid. The sclera normally has small blood vessels running across the surface.

scours 
The discharge of more fluid than normal fecal matter from the bowel; often more frequently than normal.

seborrhea 
Increased scaling of the skin with or without increased sebum production.

seborrhea, primary 
Metabolic seborrhea. Scaling caused by endocrine disorders, aberrations in lipid availability, nutritional imbalances.

seborrhea, secondary 
Scaling due to allergies, ectoparasite infestation, mycotic infections, immune-mediated disease.

sebum 
Formed of diester waxes, cholesterol and free fatty acids in sebaceous glands, which empty into the hair follicle or onto the skin.

secondary closure 
Do not suture the wound and let the tissue granulate in. 

seizure 
Another term for convulsions. 

sepsis 
The presence of infectious organisms in the blood. 

septic arthritis 
A bacterial infection in a joint causing inflammation. 

serum 
The fluid component of blood after the blood has clotted. 

serum 
The clear part of blood that remains after blood is allowed to clot. Very similar to plasma except that plasma is the fluid part of blood when blood is separated into cells and fluid before the blood clots.

sire 
The breeding male, also called a stud. 

skin turgor 
Skin elasticity. Skin turgor is used to assess hydration. 

somatic 
Relating to the wall of the body as distinguished from the viscera. 

specific treatment 
Treatment that will eliminate or modify the primary cause of a disease process. For example, surgical removal of a tumor. 

spleen 
An organ in the abdomen that stores cells. The spleen can be removed if it is diseased. 

stenosis 
A narrowing of a tubular structure. For example the intestine may stricture interfering with movement of food through the intestine. 

stomatitis 
Inflammation of the mouth including the gums and tongue. 

stranguria 
Straining to urinate. 

strategic worming 
Worming during the times of year that infection is most likely to occur. 

stria 
Streaks in the cornea caused by the cornea stretching from increased pressure. 

stricture 
Similar to stenosis. Narrowing of a tubular structure. 

stroma 
Thickest layer of the cornea. 

stud 
The breeding male also called a sire.

subcutaneous Abrev: SC or SQ
Giving a drug, fluid or vaccine under the skin. 

subunit vaccine 
A vaccine that use parts of a pathogen rather than the whole organism. 

supplement 
Feed or feed mixtures rich in one or more of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals or antibiotics. Combined with other feeds to produce a more complete feed.

symbiosis 
Parasitic state in which the parasite and animal survive in a beneficial relationship 

symblepharon 
Adherence of the conjunctiva to the cornea. 

symptomatic treatment 
symptomatic treatment eliminates or suppresses clinical signs without affecting or knowing the underlying cause of the sign. For example antiemetics to suppress vomiting. 

systemic 
Body-wide process (e.g. systemic infection). 

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tachycardia 
An abnormally rapid heart rate. 

telogen 
The resting phase of the hair cycle before it is shed. 

terrestrial rabies 
Rabies in terrestrial mammals, mammals that walk on the ground like a skunk or raccoon. 

testicles 
Same as testes. An organ that produces sperm. 

thorax 
Another term for chest. 

thrombocytopenia 
Low platelet count. 

thromboemboli 
A blood clot which forms in a blood vessel, then breaks loose into circulation and may lodge and obstruct other blood vessels.

thrombophlebitis 
Inflammation of a vein associated with thrombus formation. The thrombus may break loose as a thromboembolis and then plug other blood vessels. 

thrombosis 
The formation of blood clots in blood vessels. 

toxemia 
Capacity of parasite to produce toxins (endotoxins or exotoxins). Be cautious about differentiating this from a toxic substance, such as lead poisoning from old batteries, or toxic plants.

toxins 
Poisons either from the environment or wastes accumulating in the blood due to organ failure. E.G. uremic wastes are those toxins that accumulate in the blood when the kidneys fail.

trachea 
A synonym for the windpipe. 

transmissibility/contagiousness 
Capacity of parasite to spread between animals – e.g. Salmonella dublin is regard as highly contagious between heifers and calves via feces.

transplacental 
Transplacental means crossing the placenta. The placenta is the in-utero connection between the mother and the fetus. Transplacental means something (a drug, antibodies, an infectious agent, etc.) crosses from the mother to the fetus before birth. This can be good in the case of antibodies that protect the newborn from disease early in life or bad if it is an infectious agent that transfers from mother to baby.

trichiasis 
Normal hair from around the eyes is directed towards the eye, causing irritation. 

Trombiculidiasis 
Chiggers 

tumor 
A swelling of any structure but not always neoplastic. 

ulcer 
Loss of continuity of the epidermis. Often slow to heal. 

ureter 
A small tubular structure leading from the kidney to the bladder. There are 2 ureters, one from each kidney.

urethra 
The tubular structure that transports urine from the urinary bladder to the outside and in the male, carries semen to the outside.

urticaria 
Hives, an eruption of wheals. 

uterus 
The female organ in which the fetus develops. Composed of a body and 2 horns.

uveitis 
Inflammation of the uvea. 

vascular 
Relating to blood vessels, both arteries and veins. 

vasculitis 
Inflammation of the endothelial lining of a blood vessel. 

vector 
A carrier, in the case of recombinant vaccines, a "safe" virus used to introduce immunogenic DNA into the host animal during vaccination.

ventricle 
The heart has 4 chambers; the two chambers that make up the bottom of the heart are the ventricles. Fluid filled spaces in the brain are also called ventricles.

verminous pneumonia 
Pneumonia caused by worms. 

vertical transmission 
Infection that is spread from parent to offspring. 

vertical transmission 
Ways an infection is spread from a parent to its offspring. 

vesicle 
A small sac containing fluid 

vestibular 
Pertaining to balance. The inner ear and the cerebellum of the brain are responsible for maintaining balance.

vicryl rapide 
An absorbable suture which breaks down in about 2 weeks. 

virucide 
Kills viruses 

virulence 
The ability of an organism to cause disease

viscera 
A general term for the abdominal organs which are also called viscera. 

vitiligo 
Depigmentation 

Vitreous 
Clear, jellylike substance filling the vitreous chamber, the most posterior cavity in the eye, comprising two-thirds of the volume of the eye. Maintains the shape of the globe.

vulva 
The opening into the female genital tract from the outside of the animal. 

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wheal 
A circumscribed raised lesion of edemma of the dermas. A large number of wheals is urticaria. 

white muscle disease 
Another name for a selenium deficiency. 

yeast 
A single cell fungi which improves feed digestion by stimulating microbial activity and stabilizing digestive tract pH. Products packaged as "yeast" consist of cells only; "yeast culture" includes live yeast cells plus growth media.

Yersinia pestis 
Etiologic agent of plague.

zoonotic disease 
Infectious diseases naturally transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans. Some of these diseases can be harbored in a vertebrate animal but there might be a vector involved in transmission, so that is still a zoonotic disease because it is harbored in a vertebrate animal. Additionally the disease may be food or water borne, so you don't need to have direct contact with an animal to acquire a zoonotic disease.



The information on this website is for informational and educational purposes, and to provide you general pet information. It is NOT meant to be a substitute for professional veterinary care.