Medical Glossary

  • Abdominocentesis
    Withdrawal of fluid from the abdomen using a needle
  • Abnormal
    An anomaly, deformity, malformation, impairment, or dysfunction
  • Abscess
    Cavity filled with pus
  • Acute
    Of sudden onset; having a short course
  • Adverse reaction
    An undesirable response to a drug by a patient; it may vary in severity from mild to fatal
  • Aerobic
    Able to survive only in the presence of molecular oxygen; pertaining to metabolism in which oxygen is involved
  • Aggressive / Caution animal
    Forceful, physical action toward another, (be careful not get injured)
  • Agonal
    Pertaining to the struggling seen just before death; pertaining to an infection or disease in its terminal stages
  • Albumin
    A major protein of blood plasma that is produced in the liver
  • Ambulate
    To walk
  • Ambulatory
    Walking, or able to walk
  • Anaerobic
    Able to survive only in the absence of oxygen; pertaining to metabolism in which oxygen is not involved
  • Analgesic
    Agent that reduces or eliminates pain but does not cause loss of consciousness
  • Anemic
    Condition characterized by reduced numbers of red blood cells, and/or reduced hemoglobin
  • Anesthesia
    State of being without sensation, especially to pain. May be described as local (affecting a small area), regional, or surgical (accompanied by unconsciousness)
  • Anisocoria
    Unequal size of the pupils of the eyes
  • Anorexia
    Diminished appetite; aversion to food
  • Antibiotic
    Substance, produced by microorganisms, capable of inhibiting or killing other microorganisms
  • Antibiotic
    An agent produced by a microorganism or semi-synthetically produced that has the ability to inhibit growth of or kill microorganisms
  • Anticoagulant
    Agent that prevents clotting of blood
  • Antiemetic
    Drug that prevents vomiting
  • Antiseptic / Disinfectant
    Destroys disease-producing microorganisms or inactivates viruses
  • Antitussive
    A drug that suppresses coughing possibly by reducing the activity of the cough center in the brain and by depressing respiration
  • Anuria
    Complete suppression of urinary secretion from the kidneys
  • Anxiety / Anxious
    Apprehension of danger
  • Apnea
    No breathing
  • Arrhythmia
    Variation in rhythm of the heart beat
  • Arthritis
    Inflammation of a joint
  • Ascites
    Accumulation of serous fluid in the peritoneal cavity from blood vessels or organs
  • Aspirate
    To remove fluid or gas from a cavity by suction
  • Ataxic
    Muscular incoordination; irregular muscular contraction
  • Atelectasis
    Incomplete expansion of the lung, collapse of a previously expanded lung
  • Atrophy
    Wasting away of a part
  • Auscultation
    Act of listening for sound within the body, usually with a stethoscope
  • AV Block
    Atrioventricular block (as in first, second, third – degree)
  • Azotemia
    Accumulation of nitrogenous urinary wastes in the blood, without apparent clinical signs
  • Bacteria
    Single-celled microorganisms that usually have a rigid cell wall and a round, rodlike, or spiral shape
  • Benign
    Not malignant; with a favorable prognosis
  • Bifurcation
    Division into 2 branches
  • Bilateral
    Occurring on 2 sides
  • Bile
    Fluid, produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, that aids digestion by emulsification and absorption of fats
  • Biopsy
    Removal of a small amount of tissue from the body for examination, usually microscopic
  • Bloat
    Gaseous distention of the stomach or cecum
  • Blood
    Fluid, composed of water, cells, clotting factors and other chemicals, that circulates through arteries, capillaries and veins to supply nutrients and remove waste from tissue
  • Bolus
    A large volume of fluid rapidly given intravenously
  • Bronchitis
    Inflammation of the bronchi
  • Bronchoscopy
    Examination of the bronchi by use of a bronchoscope
  • Cancer
    A malignant tumor
  • Carcinoma
    An invasive malignant tumor arising from epithelial tissues
  • Cardiomegaly
    Enlargement of the heart
  • Cast
    A stiff dressing or bandage used to immobilize a body part
  • Catheter
    A tubular instrument used to withdraw fluid from the body, such as a body cavity or the urinary bladder, or to administer fluids, such as into a vein, artery or body cavity
  • Caudal
    Pertaining to the tail end of the body
  • Centesis
    Tapping a body cavity or organ using a needle
  • Chronic
    Persisting over a long period
  • Clot
    A semi-solid mass, as of organized blood cells
  • Coagulation
    Clot formation
  • Colloid
    Solutions containing large-molecular weight particles that are unable to cross cell membranes and are therefore confined to the vascular space
  • Cortisol
    Major hormone produced by the adrenal cortex
  • Cortisone
    A major hormone produced by the adrenal gland, from which cortisol is derived
  • Coupage
    Repetitive, regular striking of the tissue with a cupped hand
  • Cranial
    Pertaining to the head end of the body, or denoting position toward the head
  • Cream
    Semi-solid preparations of oil, water, and a medicinal agent to be applied to the skin
  • Crystalloid
    Solutions containing electrolyte and non-electrolyte substances that are capable of passing through cell membranes and can therefore enter all body fluid compartments
  • Cyanosis
    Bluish discoloration of the mucous membranes and skin caused by poor tissue oxygenation
  • Cytology
    Study of cells
  • Cytotoxic
    Capable of destroying cells
  • Decubital (Decubitus) Ulcer / Pressure Sore
    An ulcerated area of skin caused by irritation and continuous pressure on a part of the body
  • Deep pain
    Pain arising from deep receptors in the periosteum, tendons, and joint structures
  • Defecation
    Natural evacuation of fecal material from the rectum
  • Dehydration
    Condition caused by excessive loss of water from the body
  • Depolarization
    Neutralizing of the polarity of a cardiac cell by an inflow of sodium ions. Depolarization results in contraction of the cardiac cell and renders it incapable of further contraction until repolarization occurs
  • Detergent
    An agent that cleanses
  • Diarrhea
    Abnormal liquidity of the feces
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
    Myocardial failure
  • Disease
    Illness; deviation from normal physiologic function
  • Distal
    Farther from any point of reference or farthest from the central axis of the body or a body part
  • Diuretic
    Agent that increases production of urine
  • Dorsal
    Toward the backbone
  • Drug
    A substance used to diagnose, prevent, or treat disease
  • Dyspnea
    Labored or difficulty breathing
  • Ecchymosis
    Small area of hemorrhage in the skin or mucous membrane, larger than petechia
  • Echo
    Echocardiogram, the use of ultrasound to investigate the action of the heart as it beats
  • Echo
    Echocardiogram, image of heart structures produced by ultrasonic waves
  • E-Collar (Elizabethan Collar)
    Funnel shaped sheet of plastic placed around an animal’s neck to prevent self-mutilation
  • Edema
    Abnormally large amounts of fluid in the intercellular tissue spaces of the body
  • Electrical Mechanical Dissociation
    Wide bizarre qrs complexes occurring at a very slow rate are seen on the ecg, but the electrical stimulus causes no mechanical contraction of the heart
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG / EKG)
    Tracing produced by electrical impulses associated with contraction of the heart muscle
  • Electrolyte
    A substance that dissociates into ions when placed in solution, becoming capable of conducting electricity
  • Embolism
    Sudden obstruction of a blood vessel by a clot or foreign material brought to the area by the flow of blood
  • Emesis
    Act of vomiting
  • Emetic
    Drug that causes vomiting
  • Endocrine
    Relating to glands that secrete hormones internally into the blood stream (ductless glands), rather than through a duct
  • Enzyme
    A protein that can greatly accelerate a chemical or physiologic reaction
  • Epilepsy
    Disturbance of brain function characterized by intermittent periods of seizure activity, loss of consciousness or other neurologic abnormalities
  • Epistaxis
    Nosebleed; hemorrhage from the nose
  • Erythropoietin
    A substance produced in the kidneys that stimulates the bone marrow to make red blood cells
  • Euthanasia
    Easy or painless death
  • Extubate
    Removal of a tube from an organ, structure, or orifice
  • Fatal
    Pertaining to or causing death
  • Feces
    Waste products discharged from the intestinal tract
  • Glaucoma
    A group of eye diseases characterized by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) resulting in damage to the retina and the optic nerve
  • Hematoma
    Localized collection of blood in an organ, space or tissue
  • Hematuria
    Blood in urine
  • Hydration
    The taking in of water; used commonly in the sense of reduced hydration or dehydration
  • Hyperkalemia
    Higher than normal potassium levels in the blood, with symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, muscle weakness and, if severe, heart abnormalities; occurs in kidney failure and sometimes as an adverse effect following diuretic use
  • Hypernatremia
    Higher than normal levels of sodium in the blood, resulting from too frequent urination, diarrhea, or other disorder
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Hypokalemia Abnormally low potassium concentration in the blood
  • Hypoproteinemia
    Abnormal decrease in the amount of protein in the blood, sometimes resulting in edema and fluid accumulation in serous cavities
  • Hypovolemic Shock
    Shock resulting from insufficient blood volume for the maintenance of adequate cardiac output, blood pressure, and tissue perfusion
  • Hypoxemia
    Oxygen toxicity
  • Iatrogenic
    Denoting response to medical or surgical treatment, induced by the treatment itself; usually used for unfavorable responses
  • Icteric
    Relating to or marked by jaundice
  • Idiopathic
    Denoting a disease of unknown cause
  • Intern
    Graduate of a veterinary or medical school in their first year of training in a teaching hospital
  • Internal medicine
    Specialty dealing with disorders of the internal body systems, including such subspecialties as neurology, cardiology and gastroenterology
  • Internist
    Specialist in internal medicine
  • Jaundice
    Yellow discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes caused by deposition of bile pigments
  • Lateral
    On the side of (away from the midline)
  • Lavage
    To irrigate or flush out an organ, such as the stomach
  • Malignant
    Tending to become progressively worse and result in death
  • Medial
    Along the center (towards the midline of the body)
  • Melena
    Blood in stool
  • Metabolic Acidosis
    Decreased body ph caused by excess hydrogen ions in the extracellular fluid
  • Metabolic Alkalosis
    Increased body ph caused by excess bicarbonate in the extracellular fluid
  • Metastasis
    Transfer of disease from one organ or area of the body to another not directly linked to it; often used to denote spread of tumor cells
  • Microorganism
    An organism that is microscopic (i.e., bacterium, protozoan, rickettsia, virus, and fungus)
  • Murmur
    An abnormal, usually periodic sound heard on auscultation of the heart
  • Myelogram
    Radiograph of the spinal canal after injection of radiopaque dye
  • Myocardial Thickening
  • Nebulization
    The process of converting liquid into a spray that can be carried into the respiratory system by inhaled air
  • Necropsy
    Examination of a body after death
  • Necrosis
    Death of tissue and its component cells
  • Neurologic
    Pertaining to the nervous system
  • Non-productive cough
    A cough that does not result in coughing up of mucus, secretions, or debris (a dry cough)
  • Oblique
    At an angle, slanting, inclined or between horizontal and vertical
  • Ointment
    A semi-solid preparation containing medicinal agents to be applied to the skin or eyes
  • Oliguria
    Scanty urine production
  • Oncology
    Study of tumors
  • Ophthalmic
    Pertaining to the eye
  • Ophthalmoscope
    Instrument used to view the interior of the eye
  • Otic
    Pertaining to the ear
  • Otoscope
    Instrument used to view the external ear canal and tympanic membrane
  • Pain / Painful
    Unpleasant sensation associated with actual or potential tissue damage
  • Paralysis
    Loss or impairment of the ability to move body parts
  • Parenteral
    The route of administration of injectable drugs
  • Peristalsis
    Normal rhythmic motion of the stomach and intestines that moves the contents of that structure forward
  • Petechia
    Pinpoint, round hemorrhages on the skin or on a serosal surface; petechia are smaller than ecchymoses
  • Phlebitis
    Inflammation of a vein
  • Pneumonia
    Inflammation of the lungs caused primarily by bacteria, viruses, or chemical irritants
  • Pneumothorax
    Air in the thoracic cavity
  • Post-op
    Post operation, after surgery
  • Pre-op
    Pre operation, before surgery
  • Preload
    The volume of blood in the ventricles at the end of diastole
  • Productive cough
    A cough that results in coughing up of mucus, secretions, or debris
  • Prognosis
    Forecast of the probable outcome of a disease
  • Proximal
    The point closest to the backbone, used in reference to bones (e.g., the greater trochanter is proximal to the femur)
  • Pulse Deficit
    The absence of palpable pulse waves in a peripheral artery for one or more heart beats
  • Purulent
    Consisting of or containing pus
  • Pus
    Liquid product of inflammation comprised of wbcs, cellular debris and other matter
  • Pyometra
    An accumulation of pus in the uterus. Clinical signs may include: abdominal enlargement, purulent discharge, pu/pd, fever, anorexia, depression and anemia
  • Pyrexia
    (Fever) characterized by a rise in core temperature most often a sign of infection or other disease. Often accompanied by headache, chills, and feeling of malaise
  • Refractometer
    Instrument used for measuring the degree of refraction in translucent substances (used for measuring TS & USG)
  • Regurgitation
    Casting up of undigested or semidigested foodstuff from the esophagus
  • Restraint
    Forcible confinement by means of manually holding and animal or a body part to prevent movement during examination or treatment
  • Second Degree AV Block
    Some atrial impulses (P Waves) are conducted through the A-V node and depolarize the ventricles; others are blocked at the A-V node and do not cause depolarization of the ventricles
  • Seizure
    The sudden attack or recurrence of a disease. Focal: same as partial. Grand mal: one with no localizing signs. After a brief period of restlessness, there is unconsciousness, generalized muscular activity, excessive salivation, chewing, running movements, and often urination and defecation.
    Partial: one restricted to a focus in the brain; signs correspond to the area affected (limb, eyes, behavioral). Petit mal: a mild, brief generalized seizure.
  • Shock
    Acute circulatory failure characterized by hypotension, cool extremities and rapid heart rate
  • SOAP
    Acronym: subjective data, objective data, assessment, plan
  • Suspension
    A preparation of solid particles dispersed in a liquid but not dissolved in it (shake before using to provide a uniform dose)
  • Syringe
    Calibrated tubular instrument used for injecting or withdrawing liquids into or from the body
  • Third Degree AV Block
    The most severe form of heart block, in which atrial impulses are blocked at the A-V node. On the ECG the atria beat at their own rate and the ventricles beat at their own rate, which is almost always slower than the atrial rate. There is no relationship between P waves and QRS complexes
  • Thrombocytopenia
    A decreased number of platelets
  • Thrombus
    A clot in the circulatory system
  • Trauma
    A wound or injury
  • Tumor
    A swelling or pathologic enlargement of tissues; a neoplasm
  • Ultrasound
    The use of ultrasonic waves to diagnose disease
  • Vasoconstriction
    Decrease in the diameter of a blood vessel
  • Vasodilation
    Increase in the diameter of a blood vessel
  • Venipuncture
    The puncture of a vein, usually to withdraw blood or inject a solution
  • Ventral
    Pertaining to the abdomen, toward the belly
  • Ventricular Fibrillation
    Disorganized electrical activity in the ventricles characterized on the ecg as bizarre baseline undulations. No P waves or QRS complexes are seen. No mechanical pumping of the heart is present
  • Vomit
    To cast up material from the stomach; the material cast up from the stomach
  • Vpc
    Contraction of the ventricles without a corresponding contraction of the atria. A premature depolarization arising from an ectopic (somewhere in the heart outside the sinoatrial node) site below the A-V Node. Usually the QRS formed by a VPC is bizarre in shape and prolonged in duration
  • X-ray
    An electromagnetic vibration used to diagnose disease