Glossary


 

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A

Abomasum

ruminant's 'true stomach', the fourth stomach chamber


Actin

thin, protein fibres in muscle


Acute

sudden onset


Adipose tissue

meshwork of fibres, mainly filled with fat cells


Aerobic respiration

chemical process that results in the formation of energy, carbon dioxide, heat and water from the combination of oxygen and glucose


Afferent

carrying towards a centre or area


Afferent nerves

conduct an impulse towards the central nervous system


Allele

different form of a particular gene


Altricial

animal or bird that is born in a helpless state, requiring care from the parents


Alveoli

groups of alveolar sacs in the lungs where gaseous exchange occurs; the plural of alveolus


Alveolus

an air sac in the lungs, or a tooth socket


Amino acids

the building blocks of proteins


Anaemia

a deficiency of red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood


Anaerobic respiration

the chemical process of making energy and lactic acid from glucose; occurs without oxygen


Anaesthesia

a state of unconsciousness and lack of sensation


Analgesia

lack of pain


Anorexia

not eating; lack of appetite


Anthelmintic

a medication that acts against parasitic worms


Antibiotics

medication that treats bacterial diseases


Anticoagulant

agent that stops blood from clotting


Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)

hormone produced by the pituitary gland to aid osmoregulation by increasing the amount of water absorbed by the kidney; also called vasopressin


Antifungal

an agent that slows or inhibits the growth of fungi


Antigen

any substance that causes the body to initiate an immune response against it


Antimicrobial

an agent that slows or inhibits the growth of microorganisms


Antioxidant

a substance that inhibits oxidation; can be used to slow down the deterioration of stored food products


Antiviral

an agent that slows or inhibits the reproduction of viruses


Anus

orifice at the end of the digestive tract where faeces are excreted


Aorta

main artery of the body; it leaves the heart and carries oxygenated blood round the body


Appendicular skeleton

the part of the skeleton of vertebrate animals that consists of the bones that support the limbs


Arachnid

an arthropod that has four pairs of legs, and a body divided into a cephalothorax and an abdomen


Areolar tissue

fibrous mesh of tissue underneath the skin


Arterioles

smaller branches of arteries


Artery

a blood vessel that takes blood away from the heart to the organs and tissues


Arthritis

inflammation of a joint


Aspiration

inhaling a substance


Atrioventrical node (AV node)

small area of tissue in the heart between the atria and ventricles; helps coordinate the heartbeat


Atrium

upper chamber of the heart that receives blood returning from the organs of the body; plural is atria


Aural

relating to the ear or to the sense of hearing 


Aural haematoma

blood-filled swelling occurring in the pinna (ear flap)


Aural medication

medication administered into the ear canal


Auscultation

listening to organs with a stethoscope


Autoclave

steam sterilising container


Autoimmune disease

a condition that causes the body to attack its own tissues


Autonomic nervous system

part of the peripheral nervous system under involuntary control


Autotomy

shedding of a body part to aid survival, such as a lizard shedding its tail


AVM-GSL

Authorised Veterinary Medicine - General Sales List: relates to over-the-counter products


Axial skeleton

the bones that form the head, vertebral column and ribcage


Axon

the part of a neuron that carries nerve impulses away from the cell body


B

Bacteria

unicellular microorganisms; may be pathogenic or may be harmless


Bacteriology

the study of bacteria


Barrier nursing

nursing in a way that is designed to prevent the spread of disease between animals


Bile

liquid made in the liver and stored in the gall bladder which neutralises stomach acid and helps emulsify fats 


Binomial

two part name


Bladder

organ of the excretory system that collects and stores urine


Blastocyst

stage of development after the zygote continues to divide and will develop into an embryo


Bowman's capsule

another name for the glomerular capsule of the nephron; a funnel-like structure that surrounds the glomerulus


Brady-

a prefix meaning slow


Bradycardia

a slow heart rate 


Bradypnoea

slow breathing rate 


Bronchi

plural of bronchus: the first branches from the main bronchus (windpipe)


Bronchiole

small airway passages that link the bronchi to the alveoli


Bronchus

air passage that branches off from the trachea 


Bulbourethral glands

a pair of glands found caudal to the prostate gland on the urethra of the male cat and which produce seminal fluid to aid sperm survival


bundle of His

specialised fibres of the heart muscle which run from the atrioventricular node to the base of the heart


BV

Biological Value: the percentage a nutrient source is utilised by the body


BVA

British Veterinary Association


BVNA

British Veterinary Nursing Association


C

Cadaver

dead body


Caecal pellets

partially digested food passed as faeces and eaten by rabbits


Caecum

a blind-ended sac located between the small and large intestine; equivalent to the appendix in humans


Canine degenerative myopathy

progressive condition where nerves within the spinal cord gradually lose their ability to transmit impulses


Canine teeth

pointed teeth between the incisors and premolars, bigger in carnivore species


Capsid

the protein layer around the core of a virus


Carbohydrase

an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates 


Cardiac

relating to the heart


Cardiac muscle

involuntary muscle of the heart


Carnivore

animal that eats meat


Carotinoid pigments

pigments contained in fruits and seeds


Cartilage

specialised connective tissue that is more rigid than dense connective tissue but more flexible than bone


Caudal

towards the tail


Cementum

thin layer of bony material that fixes the teeth to the mandible 


Central nervous system (CNS)

part of the nervous system made up of the brain and spinal cord


Centrioles

bundles of microtubules that organise the nuclear spindle during cell reproduction


Cervix

the passage that lies between the uterus and the vagina, and which dilates during sexual intercourse and parturition


Cestodes

tapeworms


Chondroblasts

cells which form endochondral ossification forming chondrocytes in the growing cartilage


Chordae tendinae

threadlike fibrous tissue cords that anchor the papillary muscle of the heart to the bicuspid and tricuspid valves


Chromatin

material of which chromosomes are composed


Chromosome

threadlike structure of DNA, RNA and protein, found within the cell nucleus


Chronic

ongoing or long term


Chyle

a milky fluid containing fat droplets which drains from the lacteals of the small intestine into the lymphatic system during digestion.


Chyme

the pulpy acidic fluid which passes from the stomach to the small intestine, consisting of gastric juices and partly digested food.


Cilia

hairlike projections from certain cells


Ciliated epithelium

columnar epithelial cells with many cilia on the surface of each cell


Clavicle

collar bone


Codominance

a form of dominance that occurs when all the alleles within the genotype are expressed


Columnar cells

column-shaped epithelial cells with a nucleus at the base of the cell


Compact bone

makes up the outer, hard layers of the bones and the diaphysis (shafts) of long bones


Cones

cells in the eye that detect colour


Congenital

present from birth


Conjugation

process where DNA is transferred between bacteria cells


Constipation

the difficulty or failure to excrete faeces from the body


Contagious

easily spread between animals


Cooperative breeders

use other members of the pack to raise young


Copulation

the act of mating


Core temperature

temperature at the centre of the body


Cornea

clear membrane covering the surface of the eye


Corpus luteum

a hormone-secreting structure that develops in the ovary after ovulation


COSHH

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health


CPD

Continuing Professional Development


Cranial

towards the head


Crepuscular animal

one that is active during the twilight hours


Cuboidal cells

cube-shaped epithelial cells with a central, spherical nucleus


Cull

the slaughter of an animal, usually to stop spread of disease or limit the population


Cytoplasm

everything inside the cell except the nucleus


Cytoskeleton

fibres that give structure to the cell


Cytosol

fluid contents of the cell


Cytotoxic

toxic to cells; a substance that kills living cells


Cytotoxic drugs

those used to treat tumours (various types of cancer), and which are toxic to living cells


D

DE

Digestible Energy: the energy available from food after it has been digested and absorbed into the body


Decubital ulcer

skin ulcer formed because of excess pressure on the area


Deficiency

a lack of


Deglutition

swallowing


Dehydrated

insufficient water in the body, either from lack of intake or excessive loss of water


Dendrite

carries nervous impulses to the cell body


Dense fibrous connective tissue

a type of connective tissue where the matrix is dense with fibres and some cells


Dentine

hard, dense bony tissue making up the tooth body


Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

a chemical molecule that forms the genetic blueprint of an organism


Dermatitis

inflammation of the skin


Dermis

thick layer of tissue under the epidermis 


Dewlap

pouch of fat under a rabbit’s chin


Diaphragm

flat sheet of muscle that aids inhalation and exhalation


Diarrhoea

the passage of watery faeces from the body


Diastema

gap between the teeth to aid chewing


Diastole

stage within the cardiac cycle which involves the relaxation of the heart muscle


Digestion

the process of breaking down large insoluble molecules into smaller soluble molecules


Dihybrid cross

genetic cross that involves the inheritance of two separate genes located on different loci


Distal

situated away from the body


Diurnal animals

those that are adapted to survive by being most active during the day


Domesticated animals

tame animals; those that are trained and conditioned to live with humans


Dorsal

towards the spine or back


Duct

a tube or passageway


Duodenum

first part of the small intestine


Dyspnoea

difficulty breathing 


E

Ectoparasite

a parasite living on the outside of the body


Ectothermic

cold blooded animals - reliant on their surroundings and behaviour to maintain body temperature


Efferent

carrying away from a centre or area


Efferent nerves

conduct an impulse away from the central nervous system


Electrocardiography (ECG)

a record of the electrical events associated with the beating of the heart


Electrolyte

a liquid that dissociates into ions in solution, such as sodium, potassium, chloride etc


Embryo

the stage of development between the blastocyst and the fetus


Emetic

substance that induces vomiting


Enamel

very hard external covering of the tooth


Endemic disease

one that is restricted to a certain place or area, eg endemic to the UK


Endocardium

inner layer of the heart


Endocrine

relating to glands that secrete hormones or other substances directly into the blood


Endocrine glands

ductless glands that secrete hormones


Endometrium

inner lining of the uterus


Endoparasite

a parasite living inside the body


Endoskeleton

an internal skeleton found within animals


Endospores

dormant forms of bacteria


Endosteum

inner bone surface


Endothermic

warm blooded animals - have the ability to maintain their own body temperature regardless of the environment


Enema

an agent administered via the rectum to evacuate faeces


Enrichment

enhancement of an animal’s life with stimulation


Enzyme

a biological catalyst that speeds up chemical reactions without changing itself


Epicardium

outer layer of the heart


Epidermis

outer layer of cells that make up the skin


Epididymis

a highly convoluted segment of the spermatic duct that stores sperm and carries them from the testis to the vas deferens/deferent duct


Epistaxis

nosebleed


Erythrocytes

red blood cells


Ethmoturbinates

scroll-like bone found in the nasal cavity


Ethogram

a catalogue or table of all the different behaviours observed in an animal


Eukaryotes

cells with a nucleus and organelles


Euthanasia

painless killing to intentionally end a life


Evolution

process of development


Excretion

the removal of substances from a cell or from the body


Exhalation

breathing out


Exocrine

relating to glands that excrete substances into ducts rather than straight into the blood


Exoskeleton

hard covering on the outside of an animal which acts as the skeleton


Exotic disease

an infectious disease that does not normally occur in a particular area, eg one that is not present in the UK


Exteroceptors

sensory cells which receive information from the outside world


Extinction

species that have not survived


Extremity

the furthest parts of the body - usually refers to limbs


F

Fertilisation

the fusion of the gametes


Fetus

developing unborn offspring


Fimbriae

finger-like projections at the ends of the uterine tubes that allow the ovum to be swept from the ovaries to the uterus


Flagella

long tail-like projection that enables a cell to move


Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

hormone that stimulates a few primary follicles in the ovary to ripen into more mature Graafian follicles


Fomites

inanimate objects that can carry and spread disease


Foramen

a naturally occurring hole in a bone


Forebrain

the anterior part of the brain, including the cerebral hemispheres, thalamus and hypothalamus


Foreign body

an object that comes from outside of the body but has entered the body through accident or design


Free radicals

an extremely reactive group of atoms, either produced by or introduced to the body, which can damage cells, proteins and DNA by changing their structure


G

Gait

walking pattern


Gametes

sex cells: the sperm and ova


Gastrostomy tube

tube placed through the skin into the stomach


GE

Gross Energy: the maximum amount of energy that can be released from ingested food

 

 


Gene

a section of DNA that codes for a particular protein and characteristic


Genotype

the genetic makeup of the organism


Geriatric

elderly animal


Germ cells

cells that will produce gametes


Gestation

duration of pregnancy


Gingiva

the gums bordering the teeth


Gingivitis

inflammation of the gums


Glandular tissue

an adaptation of epithelial tissue that has secretory cells that secrete into the space they are lining


Glans penis

part of the penis that swells during sexual intercourse


Glaucoma

increased pressure in the eyeball


Glomerulus

a small ball of capillaries inside the Bowman's capsule of the nephron


Glucagon

a hormone secreted by the pancreas that increases blood sugar levels


Gluconeogenesis

increase in the rate at which new glucose is formed from amino acids


Glucoreguation

the maintenance of the optimal blood sugar levels


Glucose

a monosaccharide sugar required for respiration


Glycogenesis

breakdown of glucose from glycogen stores in the liver


Glycogenolysis

conversion of stored glycogen in the liver into glucose


Goblet cells

 columnar cells found in the respiratory and digestive tracts that secretes mucus onto the surface of the tissue


Golgi apparatus

an organelle that receives and modifies protein from the rough endoplasmic reticulum


Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH)

reproductive hormone that oversees the working of all the other reproductive hormones and the oestrous cycle


Gustation

the sense of taste 


H

Haematology

the study of blood


Haematopoiesis

the production of blood cells


Haemoglobin

globular protein found within erythrocytes 


Haemorrhage

bleeding


Haversian canals

minute tubules within bones containing blood vessels and nerves


Heart

muscular organ that pumps blood around the body


Heart murmur

unexpected sound made by the heart


Helminths

parasitic worms


Hepatic

relating to the liver


Hepatocytes

liver cells


Herbivore

animal that eats only plant material


Heterotroph

an organism that cannot manufacture its own food


Heterozygous

a genotype with different alleles


Hibernation

state of torpor in animals in cold weather


Hierachy

the order of authority in a pack of animals


Hindgut fermenters

animals that digest most of the food after the stomach, within the caecum


Hip dysplasia

condition of the hips that leads to malformation of the ball and socket joint of the hip bone


Homeostasis

the maintenance of a constant internal environment 


Homozygous

a genotype with the same alleles


Hormones

proteins that act as chemical messengers


Husbandry

the care of an animal as a whole


Hydrostatic skeleton

a type of flexible, fluid-filled skeleton found in many invertebrates, such as worms


Hyper

a prefix indicating high, over or excessive 


Hyperthermia

a condition where the body temperature increases above the optimum level


Hypo

a prefix indicating low, beneath or insufficient


Hypodermic

beneath the skin


Hypothermia

a condition where the body temperature decreases below the optimum level


I

Ileum

caudal part of the small intestine that leads into the large intestine


Immunity

defence against disease


Implantation

the action of the fertilised egg embedding in the uterus lining 


Incisors

teeth at the front of the mouth designed for cutting


Inflammation

swelling


Ingestion

the process of taking in food and/or drink


Innate immunity

the second line of defence that is naturally present, such as the chemicals in tears and saliva


Insectivore

an animal that eats mainly insects


Insects

invertebrate animals that have 3 pairs of legs, a head, thorax and abdomen


Inspiration

breathing in (same as inhalation)


Insulation

protection against cold


Insulin

a hormone secreted by the pancreas that lowers blood sugar levels


Intercostal muscles

muscles found within the ribcage which allow for the expansion and deflation of the lungs


Interoceptors

sensory cells which receive information about the world inside the body


Interstitial Cell Stimulating Hormone (ICSH)

hormone that stimulates the cells in the testis to make testosterone


Intervertebral disc

a cartilaginous disc found between the vertebrae


Intramuscular

into a muscle


Intranasal

into the nose


Intraocular

into the eye


Intravenous

into a vein


Invertebrates

animals without a backbone


Isolation

separation of an animal from other animals, in a separate building


J

Jejunum

second/middle part of the small intestine


K

kcal

kilocalorie, the unit of measuring energy in food. Example: 100kcal is 100 calories.


Keel

breastbone of birds


Kidney

organ of the excretory system which filters the blood


kV

kilovoltage


L

Lactation

the secretion of milk from the mammary glands


Lacteals

lymphatic vessels found within villi of small intestine


Large intestine

larger part of the gut that is a continuation of the small intestine, where water is absorbed from the digestive tract; the large intestine comprises the caecum, colon and rectum


Larynx

muscular organ that holds the vocal cords (informally called the voicebox)


Lateral

towards the side or outer edge


Laxative

medication to encourage defecation


Lethargy

lack of energy


Leucocytes

white blood cells


Ligament

a type of connective tissue that connects bone to bone


Lipase

an enzyme that breaks down lipids or fats into fatty acids and glycerol


Lipoma

a benign tumour of fatty tissue, usually found under the skin


Listeriosis

infectious zoonotic disorder caused by bacteria


Liver cirrhosis

a disease that impairs the optimal functioning of the liver


Locus

the positon of a gene on the DNA molecule


Loop of Henle

the part of a nephron which forms a loop in the medulla of the kidney


Luteinising Hormone (LH)

hormone that triggers ovulation


Lymph

tissue fluid after it has drained into the lymphatic system


Lymph nodes

small swellings full of lymphocytes that filter the blood of bacteria and antigens


Lymph vessels

vessels that carry lymph 


Lymphatic ducts

a large lymph vessel that lymph drains into


Lysosome

an organelle that digests and destroys unwanted material in the cytoplasm


M

mA

milliamperes


Macrophages

cells that cause inflammation


Macroscopic

visible to the naked eye


Mandible

lower jaw


mAs

milliampere multiplied by time in seconds


Mastication

chewing


Maxilla

upper jaw


ME

Metabolisable Energy: the energy utilised by the animal's cells


Medial

towards the midline


Meiosis

reproduction of sex cells


Melanin

the pigment in skin


MER

Maintenance Energy Requirement: the daily amount of energy the animal needs to maintain its body weight and promote a healthy condition


Mesometrium

fold of peritoneum suspending the uterus


Metabolism

chemical processes that occur in organisms to maintain life


Microscopic

only visible when viewed through a microscope


Migration

moving from one part or region to another 


Mitochondria

organelles that produce energy in the cell


Mitosis

reproduction of somatic cells 


Mitral valve disease (MVD)

abnormal closing of the cusps of the mitral valve


Mixed nerves

nerves that have both sensory/afferent and motor/efferent fibres, and which therefore carry signals to the central nervous system and away from it


Molars

Back teeth designed for chewing hard food


Monogamous

only have one mate in a breeding season


Monogastric

an animal with a single chambered stomach


Monohybrid cross

genetic cross between individuals in which a single gene is considered


Motor nerves

conduct nerve impulses away from the central nervous system


Moulds

fungi that are composed of filaments called hyphae


Moulting

shedding hair or feathers seasonally


MRCVS

Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons


Mucous membranes

epithelial tissue such as the inner lining of the lips, nose and the gums


Multicellular

made of many cells


Multiparous

animals that have litters of several offspring at a time


Muscle wastage

deterioration of muscle tissue


Musculature

covering of muscle


Mycelium

growing threads of fungus


Myelin sheath

protective layer wrapped around the axon of a nerve cell


Myocardium

muscle layer of the heart


Myoglobin

oxygen-storing pigment in muscle tissue


Myometrium

muscular layer of the uterus


Myosin

thicker fibres in muscle


N

Nares

external nostrils


Naso-oesophageal tube

feeding tube placed into the nose and advanced into the oesophagus


Natural selection

survival of useful traits in animals


Negative feedback

process in which any departure from an optimum parameter is brought back to the optimum level


Nematodes

roundworms


Neonate

newborn animal


Nephritis

inflammation of the kidneys


Nephron

one of the many thousands of tubules within the kidney where urine is formed


Neuron

nerve cell


NFA-VPS

Non-food animal - veterinarian, pharmacist, suitably qualified person


Nictitating membrane

third eyelid


Nocturnal animals

those that are adapted to survive by being active at night


Nodes of Ranvier

gaps in the myelin sheath of the axon of a nerve cell that allow electrical impulses to move along the axon quickly


Notifiable disease

a disease that must be reported to DEFRA


Nuclear envelope

membrane surrounding the cell nucleus


Nucleoplasm

protoplasm found in the nucleus of a cell


O

Obesity

being excessively overweight


Oesophagus

muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach


Oestrogen

a female reproductive hormone that is responsible for female characteristics and which plays an important role in the oestrous cycle


Oestrous cycle

reproductive cycle of a female mammal


Olfaction

the sense of smell


Omasum

third compartment of the ruminant's stomach, located between the reticulum and the abomasum


Omnivore

animal that eats both plants and meat


Oogenesis

the process by which ova are formed


Oral

pertaining to the mouth


Oral medication

given by mouth


Organelles

specialised structures inside a cell


Organic

derived from living matter


Osmoregulation

the maintenance of the optimal water concentration within the bloodstream 


Osmosis

the movement of water molecules from an area of low concentration to one of high concentration, through a semipermeable membrane


Ossification

the process of bone formation


Osteoblast

a cell that secretes the substance of bone


Osteochondrosis

disease of the growth ossification centres


Osteoclast

a cell that breaks down bone tissue


Osteocyte

bone cell


Outer envelope

the protective layer surrounding a virus


Ova

eggs or female sex cells


Ovary

the female sex organ responsible for producing gametes (egg cells)


Oviduct (Fallopian tube)

a tube that transports the ovum to the uterus, where fertilisation occurs


Oviparous

species that lay eggs


Ovoviviparous

species that make eggs which then hatch inside the female


Ovulation

the release of an ovum from the ovary 


Oxygen-haemoglobin dissociation curve

graph that shows the amount of oxygen carried by the haemoglobin compared to the amount of oxygen present in arterial blood


Oxyhaemoglobin

the combination of oxygen with haemoglobin


Oxytocin

hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, that causes contraction of the uterus and milk let-down


P

Palmar

underside aspect of the paw on the forelimb


Palpable

able to feel by touching


Parameters

range of values


Parasympathetic nervous system

part of the autonomic nervous system responsible for the processes during  'rest and digest'


Parthenogenetic

reproduction from an ovum without fertilisation occurring


Parturition

the act of giving birth


Pathogen

disease-causing organism


Peiosteum

the outer covering of bone


Pentadactyl limb

Limb with five digits, common amongst vertebrate species


Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

the nervous system outside of the CNS


Peristalsis

involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation that occurs in the GI tract and oviduct, to move the contents forwards


Phagocytosis

the ingestion of bacteria by certain cells (phagocytes)


Pharynx

cavity between the nose and mouth that links to the oesophagus


Phenotype

physical characteristics and appearance of an organism


Philtrum

the vertical groove between the nose and the upper lip


Photoreceptor cells

light sensitive cells in the retina


Photoreceptors

cells that detect light


Pica

craving for eating unusual substances that are normally not nutritious 


Pinna

the external ear flap


Pinocytosis

the transport of fluid into a cell


Placenta

temporary organ formed during pregnancy that connects the fetus to the uterine wall, where the exchange of substances pass from mother to fetus and vice versa


Plantar

underside aspect of the paw on the hindlimb


Plaque

build up of food and bacteria on the teeth


Plasma

the fluid part of blood, in which cells and other substances are suspended


Plasma membrane

the outer layer of the cell 


Platelets (thrombocytes)

small fragments of cells in the blood which play an important role in the blood clotting process


Pneumatic bones

bones that contain air to make a skeletal structure lighter in weight


Podocytes

cells in the glomerular capsule of the nephron, with a large surface area to maximise filtration


Polydipsia

increased thirst


Polygynandrous

multiple pairings of mates in a pack


Polyphagia

excessive appetite and eating


Polyuria

increased urination


POM-V

Prescription Only Medicines - Veterinararian


POM-VPS

Prescription Only Medicine - Veterinarian, Pharmacist, Suitably Qualified Person


Portal circulation

circulation of the blood to the liver from the small intestine


Positive feedback

process where any departure from a parameter is taken further away from this parameter


PPE

personal protective equipment


Precocial

self- sufficient young animals


Predatory

animals who hunt


Prehension

the action of grasping or seizing something


Premedication

drugs given before an anaesthetic


Premolars

teeth found between the canines and molars designed for chewing soft food


Prions

proteins found in the cell that can cause disease if they mutate


Progesterone

reproductive hormone that helps maintain pregnancy


Prolactin

hormone that stimulates mammary glands to produce milk


Prophylactic

a medication given before infection to avoid disease


Proproceptors

cells which receive information about the position of the body and the space around it


Prostate gland

a gland surrounding the neck of the male urinary bladder in mammals, that releases fluid which is a component of semen


Protease

an enzyme that breaks down proteins 


Proximal

situated towards the centre of the body


Pulmonary

relating to the lungs


Pulmonary artery

blood vessel which takes deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs


Pulmonary circulation

the movement of blood from the heart to the lungs and back to the heart


Pulp cavity

space within the tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerve supply


Pumonary vein

blood vessel which takes oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart


Purkinje fibres

specialised heart muscle that carries the wave of electrical activity that triggers contraction of the ventricles


Pyrexia

high temperature because of infection


R

RCVS

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons


Rectum

final section of the large intestine, where faeces are stored


Reflex action

involuntary and rapid movement in response to a stimulus

 


Reflex arc

physical reaction of the nervous system


Renal

relating to the kidneys


RER

Resting Energy Requirement: the amount of energy the body requires to perform its basic functions


Reticular connective tissue

similar to areolar tissue but only has reticular fibres in the matrix


Reticulum

second compartment of the ruminant stomach


Retina

a layer of light sensitive (photoreceptor) cells at the back of the eye


Rhinarium

the nosepad 


Ribosomes

particles of RNA that synthesise protein within the cell


RIDDOR

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations


Rods

cells in the eye that detect black and white or night-time vision


Rostral

towards the nose


Rough endoplasmic reticulum

an organelle that synthesises and transports protein in the cell


Rumen

first stomach compartment of a ruminant that receives food from the oesophagus


Ruminant

an even toed ungulate that chews the cud regurgitated from its rumen


Ruminant bloat

over-expansion of the rumen-reticulum caused by trapped fermentation gases


RVN

Registered Veterinary Nurse


S

Schwann cells

cells that make up the myelin sheath in a nerve cell


Sclera

the tough outer layer of the eye


Sebaceous glands

glands that secrete sebum (oily substance)


Seizure

physical display of violent cerebral disorder resulting from abnormal brain signalling


Semelparous

having one single reproductive episode in a lifetime


Sensory nerves

conduct nerve impulses from a structure or sensory organ towards the central nervous system


Septum

a partition that separates two chambers, as in the heart and nasal cavity


Simple epithelium

epithelium that consists of one layer of cells on a basement membrane


Sinoatrial node (SA node)

a small area of cells in the wall of the right atrium of the heart, where the electrical impulse is generated; also known as the natural pacemaker 


Sinus

an air-filled cavity in the skull; any blind-ending tract in a tissue


Slaughter

killing of livestock, usually for meat or due to disease


Small intestine

long narrow tube that leaves the stomach, where nutrients are absorbed through villi into the bloodstream 


Smooth endoplasmic reticulum

an organelle that manufactures and transports lipids and steroids within the cell


Smooth muscle

muscle tissue that is not under voluntary control


Somatic nervous system

part of the peripheral nervous system under voluntary control


Somatostatin

hormone secreted by the pancreas to aid glucoregulation


Spermatogenesis

the process in which sperm cells are formed


Spermatozoa

sperm or male sex cells


Sphincter

a ring of muscle


Splanchnic skeleton

the part of the skeleton that contains bones within soft tissue, not connected to the main skeleton, such as the os penis in the dog


Spleen

a lymphoid organ responsible for making lymphocytes, storing blood and removing exhausted blood cells


Spongy bone

type of bone found in the epiphyses of the long bones


Squamous cells

epithelial cells that are flattened in shape


Stomach

an organ within the digestive system where the breakdown of food begins


Stratified epithelium

layers of epithelial cells


Subcutaneous

under the skin


Sudiferous glands

sweat glands


Sutures (skull)

fibrous connective tissue joints that unite the bones of the skull 


Sympathetic nervous system

part of the autonomic nervous system triggered during stressful or stimulating events


Symphysis

a cartilaginous joint that unites two sides of the body


Synapse

a nerve junction


Synovial joint

a joint with a capsule filled with synovial fluid


Systematic circulation

the main circulation of blood between the heart and the body tissues but not the lungs


Systole

stage of the cardiac cycle where the heart contracts


T

Tachy

a prefix meaning fast


Tachycardia

a fast heart rate 


Tachypnoea

rapid breathing rate 


Tartar

remnants of food on teeth


Tendons

bands of tough connective tissue that connect muscle to bone


Testis

the male reproductive organ where sperm are made


Testosterone

hormone that triggers spermatogenesis and leads to secondary sexual characteristics in males


Thermoregulation

the maintenance of the optimal body temperature


Thrombocytes

platelet cells 


Thymus

lymphoid organ lying in the cranial thorax, which produces T-lymphocytes


Tonsils

ring of lymphoid tissue that encircles the back of the oropharynx


Topical medication

applied to the body surface - on the skin or mucous membranes, in the ears or eyes, in the rectum or vagina


Trachea

the tube that connects the pharynx to the lungs; colloquially known as the windpipe


Transitional epithelium

several layers of cells which are arranged to allow stretching and expansion


Tympanic membrane

the ear drum


U

Ultrafiltration

filtration that is helped by the high blood pressure within the kidney


Umbilical cord

cord of tissue that joins the placenta to the fetus


Unicellular

consists of only one cell


Urea

the end nitrogenous breakdown product of protein metabolism in mammals

 


Ureter

tube that connects the kidney to the bladder


Urethra

tube that carries urine (and sperm in males) from the urinary bladder to the outside


Urinalysis

analysis of urine, for example, using chemical and microscopic examination


Uterus

part of the female reproductive system where the fetus develops


Uvea

the pigmented layer of the eye that consists of the iris, choroid and ciliary body


V

Vaccination

treatment to provide immunity against disease


Vaccine

a substance that causes an animal to make an active immune response


Vacuoles

small storage facilities in cells


Vagina

canal that leads from the cervix of the uterus to the outside in female animals


Vas deferens

the tube that carries sperm from the testis to the urethra; also called the deferent duct


Vasoconstriction

narrowing of the blood vessels


Vasodilation

widening of the blood vessels


Vector

living organism that spreads disease between animals or people


Vein

a blood vessel that takes blood from the organs and tissues back to the heart


Vena cava

the largest vein in the body that returns deoxygenated blood to the heart


Ventral

towards the abdomen or underside 


Ventricles

lower chambers of the heart that receive blood from the atria


Venules

smaller branches of veins


Vertebral column

the bones that form the spine


Vertebrates

animals with a backbone


Vibrissae

tactile hairs or whiskers


Virus

a tiny pathogen that is not classed as a living organism


Viviparous

giving birth to live young


VMD

Veterinary Medicines Directorate


Vocalisation

noises made with the voice


Voluntary action

motor pathway under voluntary control that involves the CNS

 


von Willebrand's disease

a genetic blood clotting disorder; common in certain dog breeds, such as Dobermans


Vulva

the external genitals of the female


Y

Yeasts


Z

Zona pellucida

external membrane of the ovum


Zoonotic disease

disease that can be spread from animals to humans


Zygote

the cell formed after fusion of the gametes



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