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I’d Like to Better Understand Veterinary Terminology.

It is very important to be an informed advocate for your pets. Especially when they are ill.

Medical terms used by your veterinarian may seem like a foreign language. I spend a lot of time in the clinic educating my clients. To help better inform all other pet owners, I have therefore included the following excellent alphabetical listing of veterinary terms, e.g.:

  • abdomen- The belly.     
  • abdominocentesis- Placing a needle into the abdominal (belly) cavity to check for the presence of abnormal fluid.   
  • abscess- An accumulation of pus.  
  • acute-The sudden onset of signs of disease.  
  • Addison’s disease- Inadequate production of hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Also known as hypoadrenocorticism.
  • 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.
  • albumin-A small protein in blood that acts like a “sponge” to keep fluid within the blood vessels. If albumin is low, fluid leaks out of the blood vessels and causes edema.  
  • aldosterone- A hormone produced by the adrenal gland that is responsible for salt and water balance in the body. 
  • 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. 

Read the full list of veterinary terms at the WSU vet school web site: