Glossary of Terms for Dogs and Dog Beds


Achondroplasia: Improper development of cartilage at the ends of the long bones, resulting in a form of congenital dwarfism. A defect in most breeds and a requisite in others like Dachshunds and Basset Hounds.

Acquired Immunity: Immunity obtained either from the development of antibodies in response to exposure to an antigen, as from vaccination or an attack of an infectious disease, or from the transmission of antibodies, as from mother to fetus through the placenta or the injection of antiserum. Results in resistance to further infection.

Acute Disease: An illness that manifests rapidly.

Albino: A relatively rare, genetically recessive condition resulting in white hair and pink eyes.

Allele: One member of a pair or series of genes that occupy a specific position on a specific chromosome.

Allergen: A substance, such as pollen or pet dander, that causes an allergy.

Allergy: An abnormally high sensitivity to certain substances, such as pollens, foods, or microorganisms. Common indications of allergy may include sneezing, itching, and skin rashes.

Alpha: Term used to describe the highest ranked or most dominant individual of one's sex. Used of social animals: the alpha female of the wolf pack..

Alter: To castrate or spay (an animal, such as a cat or a dog).

Anal glands: Glands which secrete a substance that is used by a dog to mark its territory. Located near the anus.

Angulation: Angles created by bones meeting at their given joints.

Ankylosis: Abnormal immobility and fusion of a joint. Noted as cause of faulty tails in the German Shepherd Dog standard.

Anterior: The front assembly of the body.

Apron: Longer hair below the neck on the chest; also called the frill.

Arthritis in Dogs: Canine arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, is characterized by pain and inflammation in a dog's joints. Arthritis is caused by the breaking down of smooth cartilage that covers and protects the bones that form a joint. Once the bones are exposed, painful wear and tear can occur. Orthopedic dog beds are recommended for dog's with canine arthritis.

Articulation: Where two or more bones meet.

Asthma: A chronic respiratory disease, often arising from allergies, that is characterized by sudden recurring attacks of labored breathing, chest constriction, and coughing.

Asymptomatic: Neither causing nor exhibiting symptoms of disease.

Auto-immune disease: A disease resulting from an immune reaction produced by an individual's white blood cells or antibodies acting on the body's own tissues or extracellular proteins.


Behavior Modification: The use of basic learning techniques, such as conditioning, biofeedback, reinforcement, or aversion therapy, to teach simple skills or alter undesirable behavior.

Bitch: A female canine.

Blanket: The color of the coat on the back and upper part of the sides, between the neck and the tail.

Blaze: A white stripe running up the center of the face usually between the eyes.

Bloat: Also known as gastric dilation, a flatulent digestive disturbance of domestic animals and especially cattle marked by abdominal bloating. Most common in deep-chested dogs and can rapidly lead to death if untreated.

Booster Vaccination: Periodic injections given after a primary injection to continue immunity to a specific disease.

Bordetellosis: A bacterial infection affecting the respiratory system.

Borreliosis: An infectious arthritis caused by a spirochete bacterium, more commonly known as Lyme disease.

Brucellosis: A chronic disease caused by the bacterium Brucella canis and characterized by prolonged disorders of the genital tract, including infertility.


Canid: A family (Canidae) of carnivorous animals including dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and jackals.

Canine: An animal of the family Canidae, especially a dog.

Canine Arthitis:Canine arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, is characterized by pain and inflammation in a dog's joints. Arthritis is caused by the breaking down of smooth cartilage that covers and protects the bones that form a joint. Once the bones are exposed, painful wear and tear can occur. Orthopedic dog beds are recommended for dog's with canine arthritis.

Canine Distemper: The most important viral infectious disease in dogs, caused by canine distemper virus and characterized by acute upper respiratory disease symptoms and fever and later by more serious respiratory symptoms as well as fever, vomiting, diarrhea and neurological signs.

Cardiomyopathy: A disease or disorder of the heart muscle, especially of unknown or obscure cause.

Choke Collar: A chain collar that tightens like a noose when the leash is pulled, used to train or control dogs or other animals. Also called choke chain.

Chorea: A nervous jerking caused by involuntary contractions of the muscles (may be caused by distemper or hepatitis).

Chronic Disease: A disease lasting indefinitely.

Colitis: Inflammation of the colon.

Congenital: Present at birth; may have genetic or environmental causes.

Coronavirus: Disease characterized by vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.

Crossbred: A dog whose sire and dam are representatives of two different breeds. A crossbred dog cannot be registered by the AKC.

Cruelty: Conscious action or inaction that may endanger life or cause serious health consequences to animals.

Cynology: The study of canines.

Cyst: An abnormal membranous sac containing a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance.

Cystitis: Inflammation of the urinary bladder.







Drug Enforcement Administration: The federal agency which regulates the manufacture, dispensing, storage and shipment of controlled substances including medications with human abuse potential.


Dermatitis: An inflammation of the skin.


Diabetes: A metabolic disease caused by failure of the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that allows blood sugar (glucose) to be taken up by cells that require it for function.


Type I Diabetes: A form of diabetes in which so little insulin is produced that supplemental insulin must be given for the animal to live. Also called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM).


Type II Diabetes: A type of diabetes mellitus in which although the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, they are not immediately life-threatening, and the animal can survive without supplemental insulin. Also called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).


Digestibility: Expressed as a percent, is a measure of the content of food that is retained in the body after food is eaten. The difference between the weight of food eaten and the weight of stool produced, divided by the weight of the food.


Distemper (Canine): A viral disease that caused a severe and often fatal systemic illness in dogs and their close relatives. Distemper is also fatal in animals such as raccoons, and mustelids including skunks, mink and ferrets.


Dysplasia: An abnormal tissue development, common in the bones of the canine. See also hip dysplasia.


mal not native to the geographical area where it is living.





Ear Canal: The tube that connects the external ear with the ear drum.


Ear Drum: The membrane that divides the outer ear from the inner ear, where the mechanism of hearing takes place. The membrane prevents infection from reaching the inner ear, as well as vibrating to amplify sounds.


Ear Mites: Small parasitic insects that live in the ear canal of an animal, and that are able to survive outside the ear for only very short periods of time.


Echocardiogram: The image produced by performing an ultrasound examination of the heart.


Ectoparasite: A parasite that lives on the outside surface or skin of another animal. Ectoparasites include fleas, ticks, lice, and mange mites.


Ectopic: Non-malignant tissue growing in an unusual location (e.g., an ectopic pregnancy is conception of a normal embryo outside the normal location, which is the uterus).


Electrocardiogram (EKG): A printout of an analysis of the electrical activity in the heart.


Elbow Dysplasia: See fragmented coronoid process.


Electrolyte: Chemically, an element that, when dissolved in water, will cause the solution to transmit electricity. In medicine, certain elements in the blood which are critically important to life, including sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and phosphorous.


Emesis: Vomiting.


Endoscope: A long flexible instrument which can be passed into the body to view various structures through the use of fiber optics.


Entropion/Ectropion: Condition of the eyelids where they roll in or out from the eyeball.


Enzymes: Enzymes are special proteins produced by cells which cause chemical changes in other substances, but which are not themselves changed in the process.


Esophageal Reflux: A condition in which stomach contents move backward into the esophagus, i.e., heartburn.


Estrogen: A female hormone produced by the ovaries, which results in the onset of estrus.


Exotic: An animal not native to the geographical area where it is living.





Flatulence: Increased stomach or intestinal gas.


Foreign Body Any abnormal substance within the body. Examples include wood slivers, ingested cloth, balls, glass in the feet, etc.


Fragmented Coronoid Process: Small piece of bone broken off the ulna, often referred to as elbow dysplasia.





Gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach.


Gastroenteritis An upset of the gastrointestinal system usually from ingestion of toxic or non-food items, causing acute vomiting and diarrhea which can lead to severe dehydration.


Gastrointestinal Tract: Pertaining to the stomach and intestines. The term 'digestive system' includes the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, anus, pancreas, and liver.


Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): is also known as "bloat," "stomach torsion," or "twisted stomach". GDV is an extremely serious condition, and should be considered a life-threatening emergency when it occurs. Dogs can die of bloat within several hours. Even with treatment, as many as 25-33% of dogs with GDV die.


Glaucoma: Increased pressure within the eye, very painful and can lead to blindness.