Glossary & Definitions Of Veterinary Dog Medical Terms

Glossary of Dog-Related Veterinary & Medical Terms

Read our Encyclopedia of Veterinary Terms defining dog medical conditions and canine diseases. We classify them under distinct categories to make it easier for you.

Cardiovascular & Respiratory

Arrhythmia
An abnormal heartbeat.
Cardiomyopathy
A disease that weakens and enlarges the heart.
Congestive heart failure
Occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body
Cough
Triggered by irritants in the air passages and can be characterized as dry and hacking; moist and bubbly; gagging; wheezy; harsh; or weak. It can be frequent, chronic, or intermittent, and is often self-perpetuating as it dries the throat and leads to further irritation
Heartworm infection
An infection caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes that resides in the pulmonary artery of dogs and can cause heart failure
Murmur
Abnormal heartbeat sounds, such as whooshing or swishing, made by turbulent blood flow through the heart
Pneumonia
A condition of the lungs involving inflammation and congestion resulting from infection by viruses, bacteria or fungi
Pulmonic stenosis
A narrowing of the pulmonary valve in the heart, slowing the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs
Subaortic stenosis
A narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart, which slows the flow of blood out of the aorta (the largest artery in the body

Ear, Nose & Throat Conditions

Aural hematoma
A collection of blood under the skin of the ear flap (sometimes called the pinna) of a dog
Epistaxis (nose bleed)
A nosebleed
Hearing problem
Any auditory impairment including deafness or partial deafness
Otitis externa (ear infection)
Inflammation of the external parts of the ear
Pharyngitis
An inflammation between the mouth and the esophagus that is usually caused by a bacterial infection
Rhinitis
Inflammation of the mucus membranes of the nose
Tonsilitis
Inflammation in the tonsils usually caused from infection or excessive vomiting and/or coughing
Upper respiratory infection
Illnesses caused by an infection which involves the upper respiratory tract including the nose, sinuses, pharynx or larynx.

Endocrine (Hormone)

Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism)
A disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands produce too little cortisol (a hormone) and often insufficient levels of aldesterone (a hormone). See also Hypoadrenocorticism.
Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism)
A disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol (a hormone). See also Hyperadrenocorticism.
Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes)
A disease that results in high blood glucose (blood sugar) levels
Disbetes insipidus
A disorder characterized by excessive drinking and the excretion of large amounts of urine
Hypercalcemia
Elevated calcium levels
Hypothyroidism
A condition in which the thyroid gland lacks production of thyroxine, which controls metabolism
Pancreatic insufficiency
A condition in which the pancreas does not excrete a sufficient amount of digestive enzymes, leading to poor digestion and poor absorption of nutrients

Eye Conditions

Cataracts
A discreet clouding of the lens of the eye
Conjuctivitis
Also known as pinkeye or red eye, is an itchy inflammation of the tissue that coats the eye, called the conjunctiva
Corneal ulcer
A deep erosion of the cornea or layered membrane of the front of the eyeball
Distichiasis (abnormal eyelash)
A condition in which there are two rows of eyelashes in place of one
Ectropion (abnormal eyelid)
A condition in which the lower eyelid turns outward
Entropion
A condition in which the eyelid (usually the lower) folds inward
Glaucoma
A group of eye conditions characterized by high intraocular pressure that results in optic nerve damage and loss of vision
Imperforate lacrimal punctum
A birth disorder involving the lack of an opening to the tear duct in the interior of the eye
Iris cyst
A growth on the colored portion of the eye, generally caused by injury or inflammation
Ketrato conjuctivits sicca
Lack of proper tearing in the eye, also known as “Dry Eye” Syndrome
Pigmentary uveitis
Inflammation of the uvea (the part of the eye containing the iris); hereditary disease in Golden Retrievers
Progressive retinal atrophy
A group of inherited, degenerative diseases of the retina (the layer of the eye that receives and processes images), leading to blindness
Third eyelid tear gland prolapse (cherry eye)
Also known as cherry eye. The third eyelid, which is involved in tear production, moves out of its normal position and may swell and become very red.
Trauma/injury
Damage to the eye caused by physical harm from an external source
Uveitis
Inflammation of the uvea (the part of the eye containing the iris)

Gastrointestinal Conditions

Bloat with torsion (GDV)
A condition in which the stomach fills with air and twists upon itself, therby preventing the contents from exiting the stomach
Bloat without torsion
A condition in which the stomach fills with air and expands
Chronic colitis
Persistent inflammation of the colon (large intestine)
Diarrhea
Loose, watery stools
Food sensitivity
An adverse reaction to something eaten, usually resulting in diarrhea or vomiting. Different from a food allergy
Gastritis
Inflammation of the lining of the stomach
Gastrointestinal foreign body
An object that has been ingested and trapped in the stomach or intestines
Malabsorptive disorder
The impairment of nutrient intake into the intestines
Megasophagus
An abnormally enlarged esophagus causing accumulation of food and regurgitation (vomiting without retching). The food does not make it to the stomach.
Pancreatitis
An inflammation in the pancreas
Vomiting
Forcible ejection of stomach contents

Hematologic (Blood)

Anemia
A condition in which there is an insufficient number of red blood cells (oxygen-carrying cells) in the blood
Thrombocytopenia
A decrease in the number of platelets in circulating blood. Platelets are cells that aid in the clotting of blood.
Von Willebrand disease
An inherited bleeding disease

Infectious Diseases

Anaplasma
A bacteria that can lead to anaplasmosis, a tick-borne diseas that can impact the red blood cells
Babesia
A parasite that can infect the blood and cause babeosis, a malaria-like disease
Coccidia
A bacteria that can inhabit the lining of the intestinal tract causing diarrhea
Ehrlichia
A tick-borne bacteria that inhabits and kills the white blood cells
Ehrlichiosis
A bacterial illness transmitted by ticks that causes blood cell deficiencies and nose bleeds (epistaxis)
Emieria
An parasitic intestinal tract infection
Fleas
Wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and living off of the blood of mammals and birds
Fungal infection
Any infection caused from a fungus
Giardia
An intestinal infection caused by a microscopic parasite that is found worldwide, especially in areas with poor sanitation and unsafe water
Granuloma
A benign exterior skin growth that appears much like a wart
Hookworms
Small, thin worms that fasten their mouth parts onto the lining of the small intestines and suck blood and tissue fluids from the host. This can result in severe blood loss and malnutrition.
Influenza
A contagious respiratory disease caused by specific Type A influenza viruses
Isospora
An intestinal tract parasite typically causing diarrhea
Lyme disease
A tick-borne illness that can cause inflammation of multiple joints
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
An infectious disease also known as “tick fever,” which can cause fatigue, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, an enlarged spleen and infection in the lymph nodes
Roundworms
Parasitic worms that primarily infect the stomach and intestines
Tapeworm
A type of parasitic worm that is flat and made up of segments
Ticks (hosts)
Small arachnids that feed on the blood of other animals
Tracheobronchitis (kennel cough)
Also known as kennel cough. An inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tubes that leads to the lungs causing a dry, honking cough.
Whipworms
An intestinal parasite that resides where the small intestine and large intestine meet

Musculoskeletal

Bone fractures
Fracture of the bone caused from abnormal stress on the skeletal system
Cruciate ligament rupture
A rupture of one of the ligaments associated with the knee
Elbow dysplasia
A condition in which growth and development of the elbow joint is abnormal
Growth deformity
Any area of the skeletal system that develops abnormally during growth
Hip dysplasia
A condition in which growth and development of the hip joints are abnormal
Intervertebral disc disease
A disease affecting the padding, or discs, found between the vertebrae of the spine
Lameness
A clinical sign of a more severe disorder that results in a disturbance in the gait and the ability to move the body about, typically in response to pain, injury, or abnormal anatomy
Osteoarthritis
A disease of the joints in which the cartilage and bone deteriorate
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
A joint condition in which a piece of cartilage separates from the bone beneath it
Panosteitis
Inflammation involving many different bones throughout the body
Patellar luxation
A dislocation of the knee cap, or patella, of the stifle (knee) joint causing lameness
Rheumatoid arthritis
An immune-mediated disease which causes painful swollen joints and lameness
Spondylosis
Degenerative arthritis of the joint between vertebrae
Trauma/injury
Damage to a biological organism caused by physical harm from an external source

Neoplasias

Neoplasm (from Ancient Greek neo- “new” and plasma “formation, creation”) is an abnormal growth of tissue. This abnormal growth (neoplasia) usually but not always forms a mass. When also forming a mass, the neoplasia is commonly referred to as a tumor (American) or tumour (British).

Adrenal tumor
A benign or malignant tumor of the adrenal gland
Basal cell tumor
A malignant skin tumor that causes destruction of nearby cells, though rarely metastasizing or causing death
Bile duct tumor
A malignant tumor that typically arises from the the cellular lining of the walled passage ways of the liver
Bladder tumor
A benign or malignant tumor of the bladder
Brain/spinal cord tumor
A benign or malignant tumor of either the brain or spinal cord
Breast tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the mammary glands
Epidermoid cyst
A benign enclosed sac found on the skin
Eye tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the eye
Hair matrix tumor
A benign or malignant tumor that developes in the cells which grow the hair follicles
Heart tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the heart
Hemangioma
A benign tumor found on the skin
Hemangiosarcoma
A malignant cancer of blood vessels that often occurs in the spleen or heart, but can also occur in the liver, skin or muscle
Histiocytic sarcoma
Aggressive tumors most commonly found in the spleen, lymph nodes, lung, bone marrow, skin, brain, and joints of the limbs
Histiocytoma
A benign tumor of histiocytes (a type of white blood cell)
Kidney tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the kidneys
Leukemia
A disease in which cancerous cells are distributed through the circulatory system and into the organs
Lipoma
A benign growth of fat cells
Liver tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the liver
Lung tumor
A benign or malugnant tumor found in the lung
Lymphoma
A type of malignant cancer that is an abnormal growth of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell
Mast cell tumor
A tumor of the skin that is usually malignant
Melanoma
A cancer of skin cells that typically form in the skin, eye or oral cavity. May be benign or malignant
Multiple myeloma
An uncommon cancer that is derived from a population of malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow
Nasal tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the nasal cavity and/or paranasal sinuses
Osteosarcoma
A malignant tumor of bone
Pancreatic tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the pancreas
Papilloma
Benign, sometimes multiple, tumors caused by viruses
Perianal adenocarcinoma
Malignant tumors found in the rectum or anal sacs
Perianal adenoma
Benign tumors found in the rectum or anal sacs
Petuitary tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the petuitary gland
Plasmacytoma
A plasma cell based cancer
Prostate cancer
A cancer of the prostate gland
Sebaceous adenoma
A condition characterized by a slow-growing tumor usually presenting as a pink, flesh-coloured, or yellow papule or nodule
Soft tissue sarcoma
A group of malignant cancers that arise from the skin and subcutaneous connective tissues, such as fat, muscle, cartilage, fibrous connective tissue and nerves
Squamous cell carcinoma
A type of malignant cancer that occurs primarily in skin or the oral cavity
Stomach/intestinal tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the intestinal tract or stomach
Testicular cancer
A cancer of the testicle
Thymoma
Cancerous tumors that arise from the lining of the thymus gland
Thyroid tumor
A benign or malignant tumor found in the thyroid gland

Nervous System

Brain tumor
A benign or malignant tumor of the brain
Cauda equina syndrome
An arthritis and disc disease that puts pressure on the nerves coming off the spinal cord, causing pain
Dementia or senility
A loss of memory or mental ability resulting in changes in behavior
Laryngeal paralysis
Paralysis of the muscles of the vocal cords
Limb paralysis
The inability to move a limb, typically based on disassociation between the brain and spinal cord
Myasthenia gravis
A disorder of signal transmission between the nerves and muscles (known as neuromuscular transmission), characterized by muscular weakness and excessive fatigue.
Seizures of unknown origin (idiopathic epilepsy)
A condition of frequent or recurring seizures of an unknown origin
Trauma/injury
Damage to a biological organism caused by physical harm from an external source
Wobbler syndrome
A disease of the cervical spine (at the neck) that is characterized by compression of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots

Reproductive Terms

Cryptorchid – Bilateral
Occurs when both testicles have not descended into the scrotum
Cryptorchid – Unilateral
Occurs when one testicle has not descended into the scrotum
Dystocia
A difficult birth experience
Mastitis
A bacterial infection of one or more lactating (milk producing) glands in the breasts
Papilloma
Benign, sometimes multiple, tumors caused by viruses
Pregnancy
Development of offspring
Preputial infection
A bacterial infection affected the area around the male genitalia
Prostate abscess
An abscess of the prostate gland
Prostate enlargement (benign)
An abnormally large prostate gland
Prostatitis
An inflammation of the prostate gland
Pyometra
The presence of pus (a product of fluid, bacteria, cell waste and cells) in the uterus
Recessed vulva
A condition in which the vulva is at least partially engulfed by the skin folds that surround it
Vaginitis
Inflammation of the vagina

Skin Conditions

Analsac (gland disorder)
Anal gland and their ducts becoming clogged or impacted, usually from the thickness of the gland’s secretions or the softness of the stool
Atopy
A predisposition to develop allergic dermatitis
Bacterial dermatitis
A bacteria caused infection of the skin
Contact dermatitis
A type of allergic dermatitis that occurs when the skin is exposed to substances that cause an allergic reaction
Demodectic mange
A skin disease caused by Demodex mites
Dermatophytosis
A fungal skin infection causing circular or irregular lesions
Dry skin
Irritated skin typically scaly and/or itchy
Flea allergy dermatitis
Skin inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to flea bites
Food allergy dermatitis
Skin inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to certain foods
Icthyosis
A generalized skin disorder marked by dryness, roughness and scaliness
Lick granuloma
A benign exterior skin growth that appears much like a wart, caused from excessive licking
Moist eczema (hot spots)
A bacterial infection on the skin, typically described as raw skin patches appearing quickly
Non-specific dermatitis
Inflamed skin and skin rashes, from a number of causes, including allergies, fleas, mange mites, and bacterial or fungal infections
Papilloma
Benign, sometimes multiple, tumors caused by viruses
Perianal dermatitis
Anal irritation often caused by biting or licking at the anal area
Perivulvar dermatitis
Inflammation surrounding the outside of the female genital area
Pododermatitis
An inflammation of the paws
Pruritis
The sensation that provokes a desire to itch, scratch, rub, chew, or lick its hair and skin
Sarcoptic mange
A skin disease caused by Sarcoptes mites
Seasonal allergy
Based on the time of year, an allergic reaction to surrounding flora
Sebaceous cyst
A benign enclosed sac below the skin, but visible

Urinary Conditions

Bladder infection (cystitis)
A bacterial infection of the lining of the bladder
Bladder stones
Small masses of minerals that form in the bladder
Crystalluria
Characterized by the presence of crystals in the urine and can be associated with an inreased risk of kidney stones
Ectopic ureter
Am opening in any area other than the normal position in the smooth triangular region of the internal urinary bladder
Incontinence
Loss of bladder control
Kidney failure
Occurs when the kidneys are unable to adequately filter waste products from the blood. Can be acute (sudden) or chronic (over time)
Kidney infection/pyelonephritis
Inflammation of the kidney, and is most often due to a bacterial infection that has made its way from the lower urinary tract
Kidney stones
Small, hard deposits of minerals that form inside the kidneys
Proteinuria
The presence of protein in the urine and is typically an indicator of kidney failure or dysfunction