Glossary list of veterinary terms and phrases.

Julia Dicconson
Content Manager
May 19, 2023

There are many phrases and terms that are unique to the veterinary industry, and if you’ve had to take your pet to the vet clinic, you may have been confused about certain phrases. 

Here is a thorough list of veterinary terms and phrases and their definitions. 

Common veterinary terms and phrases.

  1. Veterinary clinic/hospital: A facility where veterinarians provide medical care for animals.
  2. Veterinarian/Vet: A licensed medical professional who diagnoses, treats, and cares for animals.
  3. Veterinary technician/nurse: An assistant to the veterinarian who performs various tasks such as taking vital signs, administering medication, and providing nursing care.
  4. Consultation: A meeting with the veterinarian to discuss the animal's health condition, symptoms, and treatment options.
  5. Physical examination: A comprehensive evaluation of an animal's overall health, including checking vital signs, examining body systems, and identifying any abnormalities.
  6. Vaccination: The administration of a vaccine to stimulate the animal's immune system and protect against infectious diseases.
  7. Spay/neuter: Surgical procedures to sterilise animals by removing their reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus in females, testicles in males).
  8. Bloodwork: Laboratory tests performed on a blood sample to assess the animal's overall health, organ function, and detect any abnormalities.
  9. X-ray: A diagnostic imaging technique that uses radiation to produce images of bones and internal organs.
  10. Ultrasound: A diagnostic imaging technique that uses sound waves to create real-time images of internal organs and structures.
  11. Microchip: A small electronic device implanted under the animal's skin that contains identification information to help reunite lost pets with their owners.
  12. Deworming: Treatment to eliminate internal parasites (worms) from an animal's digestive system.
  13. Dental cleaning: A procedure to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from an animal's teeth and gums.
  14. Prescription medication: Medications prescribed by the veterinarian to treat specific health conditions.
  15. Euthanasia: The humane and painless act of ending an animal's life to alleviate suffering when there is no reasonable alternative.
  16. Medical record: A document that contains the animal's medical history, examination findings, diagnoses, treatments, and other relevant information.
  17. Pet insurance: An insurance policy that covers some or all of the costs associated with veterinary care.
  18. Emergency care: Immediate veterinary treatment provided in critical or life-threatening situations.
  19. Preventive care: Veterinary services and measures aimed at maintaining an animal's health and preventing illness, such as vaccinations, regular check-ups, and parasite control.
  20. E-collar: A protective device, often in the form of a cone-shaped collar, used to prevent animals from licking or chewing wounds or surgical incisions.

Health and illness related terms.

  1. Faecal examination: Laboratory analysis of a stool sample to detect the presence of parasites or abnormal bacteria.
  2. Heartworm test: A diagnostic test to detect the presence of heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and affects the heart and lungs of dogs and cats.
  3. Flea and tick prevention: Products, such as topical treatments or oral medications, used to protect animals from fleas and ticks and prevent infestations.
  4. Skin scrape: A procedure in which a small sample of skin is collected to diagnose skin conditions or detect mites.
  5. Analgesic: Medication that provides pain relief for animals, often prescribed after surgeries or for chronic pain management.
  6. Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV): A viral infection that can cause immune suppression, anaemia, and certain types of cancer in cats.
  7. Canine Parvovirus: A highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects puppies and can cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting, and dehydration.
  8. Rabies vaccination: A vaccine administered to animals to protect them against the deadly rabies virus, which can be transmitted to humans.
  9. Cystotomy: A surgical procedure to remove bladder stones or treat other urinary tract conditions.
  10. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): A viral infection that weakens the immune system of infected cats and can lead to various health problems.
  11. Radiograph: An image produced by an X-ray machine to visualise bones, organs, and other structures for diagnostic purposes.
  12. Faecal flotation: A laboratory test that uses a special solution to separate and identify parasite eggs or oocysts in a stool sample.
  13. Zoonotic disease: Infectious diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans, such as rabies or Lyme disease.
  14. Anaesthesia: The controlled loss of sensation or unconsciousness induced to allow for surgical procedures or other medical interventions.
  15. Cushing's disease: A hormonal disorder in dogs caused by excessive production of cortisol, leading to various symptoms such as increased thirst, weight gain, and hair loss.
  16. Ophthalmology: The branch of veterinary medicine that focuses on diagnosing and treating eye diseases and conditions in animals.
  17. Orthopaedic surgery: Surgical procedures performed on bones, joints, and muscles to treat fractures, ligament tears, or other musculoskeletal issues.
  18. Geriatric care: Veterinary care tailored specifically for older animals, addressing age-related conditions, mobility issues, and quality-of-life concerns.

Remember, if you have any specific concerns or questions, don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian for clarification.

This glossary is not exhaustive, but it should help you become more familiar with common terms and phrases used in veterinary care.

We’re here to help.

At Goodbye Good Boy, we provide home euthanasia services to support loving owners in providing a peaceful passing for their beloved pets.

The team at Goodbye Good Boy offers individualised support to help you and your family navigate this difficult time by providing quality-of-life checks, in-home euthanasia, cremation and aftercare services, and personalised memorialisation options. 

To learn more about our pet end-of-life services, give our team of passionate pet lovers a call on 1800 953 619.