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Vet Glossary

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 – A 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gastritis – Inflammation of the stomach, commonly causing vomiting.

Gingivitis – Inflammation of the gums.

Glaucoma – Disorder characterized by increased pressure within the eye.

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.

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.

Jaundice – Yellowing of the skin and mucus membranes due to bile pigments. Can be related to liver disease. Also known as “Icterus”

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.

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.

Nasal – Pertaining to the nose.

Neoplasia – The formation of a tumor, uncontrolled cell growth.

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.

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.

Queening – The act of delivering kittens.

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.

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.

Torsion – Twisting of the stomach or other organ. See Gastric dilation and volvulus.

Ultrasound – A diagnostic tool for non-invasive imaging of the internal organs.

Urinalysis – Analysis of the urine.

Uveitis – Inflammation within the eye.

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.

Whelping – The act of delivering puppies.