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Veterinary Glossary


The following terms are commonly used in veterinary medicine. (If your pet exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned, please see your Veterinarian. This list is for education only, and is in no way intended to replace proper veterinary care and diagnosis.):
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K| L | M | N | O | P | QR | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z 
A Abscess  A localized collection of pus characterized by pain and swelling, sometimes caused by bite wounds
Addison's Disease   Disease syndrome caused by abnormally low levels of cortisol in the body. This life-threatening condition may be unintentionally induced by abruptly discontinuing oral steroid administration, or by the misuse of Cushing's Disease medication.
Anal glands (anal sacs)  Two glands located on either side of the anus. They produce a strong-smelling substance which is usually expressed with bowel movements. The anal glands can become full or impacted and may need to be expressed manually by a veterinary caregiver.
Anemia   Condition characterized by below-normal number of red blood cells. Anemic pets may have pale mucus membranes, weakness, exercise intolerance or panting.
Anesthesia   Literally "loss of feeling", anesthesia is a state of sleep induced for surgery or other procedures. "Local" anesthesia is a chemically induced lack of sensation in a small area of the body.
Atopy   Allergy-induced itchiness
Aural Hematoma   A collection of blood trapped between the layers of the ear flap, resembling a "pillow". Hematomas are caused by damage to the blood vessels of the ear, often due to head shaking.
B Benign   Not malignant, as in a benign tumor. Favorable for recovery.
Bloat   Distention of the stomach with gas and/or food. This can be a life-threatening condition.
C Cardiac   Pertaining to the heart.
Castration   Removal of the gonads, often referring to removal of the testes of a male animal.
Cataract   Opacity or cloudiness of the lens of the eye.
Comprehensive Physical Examination   Complete veterinary examination including evaluation of all body systems. Should be done for all pets at least yearly (more often for older pets).
Conjuctivitis   Inflammation of the tissues surrounding the eye.
Cornea   The clear covering of the eye.
Cruciate Ligament   A ligament in the knee (stifle) which provides stability to the joint.
Cushing's Disease   Syndrome caused by excessive cortisol production or administration. Click here for more information.
Cystocentesis   Use of a syringe and needle to obtain uncontaminated urine directly from the bladder.
D Dermatitis   Inflammation of the skin.
Diabetes   Disorder characterized by increased drinking and urination, often due to faulty blood sugar regulation by the body.
Diuresis   Increased urine production; can be stimulated with IV fluid therapy to assist in treatment of renal disease.
Dyspneic   Labored breathing.
E Edema   Abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body tissues.
Emesis   Vomiting.
Endoscopy   Visual examination of the interior of the body, using a long, flexible, fiberoptic instrument.
Extraction   Removal of a tooth.
F Foreign body   Plant or mineral material which enters the body and causes potential problems, including "gastric foreign body" an object in the stomach, and "foreign body fistula", a draining tract caused by a foxtail or other embedded matter.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)   Skin inflammation caused by a reaction to flea saliva, typically on the back and rear of a pet.
Fracture   Broken, as in a bone or tooth. Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) Expansion and twisting of the stomach, also known as "torsion". A life-threatening condition.
G Gastritis   Inflammation of the stomach, commonly causing vomiting.
Gingivitis   Inflammation of the gums.
Glaucoma   Disorder characterized by increased pressure within the eye.
H Hepatitis   Nonspecific inflammation of the liver.
Hyperadrenocorticism   See Cushing's Disease.
Hyperpigmentation   Increased coloration of the skin. May be related to skin irritation, self-trauma (chronic licking or chewing) or some disease processes.
Hypoadrenocorticism   See Adddison's Disease.
I Incision   A cut made with a sharp instrument.
Infectious   Transmissible from one animal to another.
Inflammation   Pain, redness and possible swelling due injury or infection.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease   Condition characterized by episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. Often diet related.
J Jaundice   Yellowing of the skin and mucus membranes due to bile pigments. Can be related to liver disease. Also known as "Icterus"
L Laceration   A cut or tear in the body tissue(s).
Lavage   Irrigation or washing out.
Lens   The structure within the eye that focuses light onto the retina (back of the eye).
Libido   Sexual impulse.
Lipoma   A fatty tumor, often benign.
M Malignant   Tending to get worse and result in death, as in a malignant tumor.
Mammary   Relating to the mammary glands or breasts.
Metastasis   The spread of disease or tumor from one part of the body to another.
N Nasal   Pertaining to the nose.
Neoplasia   The formation of a tumor, uncontrolled cell growth.
O Ocular   Pertaining to the eye.
Oral   Pertaining to the mouth, or given by mouth (as in oral medications).
Orthopedic   Pertaining to the bones and joints, as in orthopedic surgery.
Otitis   Inflammation of the ear.
P Pancreatitis   Inflammation of the pancreas, characterized by vomiting, often induced by a high fat meal such as table scraps.
Patella   Kneecap.
Periodontitis   Disease of the tissues around a tooth, including the ligament that holds the tooth in place and/or the bone of the jaw.
Polishing   The smoothing of the tooth surface with a fine pumice paste after dental cleaning.
Prophylaxis   Prevention, as in dental prophylaxis or preventive tooth cleaning. Also called a "prophy" for short.
Pyoderma   Skin infection.
Pyometra   Infection of the uterus.
Q Queening   The act of delivering kittens.
R Registered Veterinary Technician   RVT's are licensed veterinary care professionals who have received advanced education in nursing, radiology, surgical assistance, anesthesiology, dentistry and many other areas of veterinary medicine. They work in conjunction with the Veterinarian to provide pet health care.
Radiographs   X-ray images.
Renal   Pertaining to the kidneys.
S Scaling   Mechanically removing plaque and tartar from the teeth. One step of a dental prophy.
Seborrhea   Skin condition which may be characterized by inflammation, dry or oily scaling or crusting and/or itchiness.
Spay/OVH   Removal of the ovaries and uterus from a female animal
Sterile   1. Free of infectious organisms. 2. Unable to produce offspring.
T Torsion   Twisting of the stomach or other organ. See Gastric dilation and volvulus.
U Ultrasound   A diagnostic tool for non-invasive imaging of the internal organs.
Urinalysis   Analysis of the urine.
Uveitis   Inflammation within the eye.
V Vaccine   Substance designed to stimulate the body to fight off a specific infection. Vaccines are often made of weakened or partial viruses which cannot cause infection but which can induce a response from the body.
Vestibular  disease (old dog vestibular disease)   Disorder causing loss of balance. It may cause slight head tilt, or it may be severe enough to prevent the dog from standing normally and to cause nausea.
W Whelping   The act of delivering puppies.

 

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