Cats

  • Cat Care

    Cats can make excellent companions and are wonderful pets. However, with an average lifespan ranging from 15-20 years, owning a cat is a long-term commitment and their needs must be carefully considered.

    A cat’s housing needs are simple. Whilst they will usually find a corner that suits them best indoors or outdoors, provide them with a basket, box or chair in a place where they feel safe and protected. Increasingly, people are using cat enclosures for outdoor cats. Placed in a weatherproof area, they keep them safe from neighbourhood cats and protect local wildlife. Indoor cats generally live longer and lead healthier lives.

    It is recommended a scratching post be available for your cat to keep their claws in good condition for climbing and defending themselves. This will also reduce the chances of your furniture being scratched.

    Cats like to be clean at all times. As a result, cats can easily be toilet trained if a litter tray filled with dry earth, sand, or cat litter is available. The litter tray should be cleaned daily to remove faeces and the litter itself changed frequently. Ensure the litter tray is placed in a quiet and private location. You may even need multiple trays if you have more than one pet cat. A good rule of thumb is one tray for each cat plus one extra.

    All cats need to exercise. As cats naturally like climbing and perching themselves up high, trees and fences, for example, provide good opportunities for them if they have outdoor access. Indoor cats, however, will use furniture to climb and perch. Once again, having a scratch pole or indoor cat gym will give an indoor cat an effective alternative. Providing higher perching locations will also give your cats a more enriched environment.

    Most cats require grooming assistance from their owners to remove excess hair. This helps in the reduction of furballs/hairballs and matted/tangled fur, which if left, may result in a visit to us. Except at moulting time, short haired cats are able to groom themselves adequately. In contrast, long haired cats require daily grooming by their owners. Furballs or hairballs can cause appetite and weight loss, and in a worst case scenario, result in surgery. During the moulting season daily brushing is essential and food designed specifically to assist with the reduction of hairballs will also help your cat process shed hair. Unlike dogs, you should not need to bathe a cat.

    They require a high protein and fat diet. There are many formulations of cat food available and we recommend discussing your cat’s individual nutritional needs with us to choose the most suitable formula. Raw chicken wings/necks are excellent in maintaining good dental health.

    Ensure a fresh water bowl is accessible at all times, especially if they have a dry food diet. Whilst many cats love to drink cow's milk, it's not recommended as they can be lactose intolerant and experience stomach upsets.

    Cats require a minimum of one health check per year. Regular visits help us diagnose, treat or even prevent health problems before they become life-threatening. Routine vaccinations, worming and flea control form the basics of feline medical care.  We can also provide additional guidance on nutrition, behaviour, training and life-stage treatments available.

    Our staff are always keen to discuss routine health care for your current or future pets. For further information from our helpful staff about pet care, please call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo.

  • Health Checks

    Annual health checks are an essential way for you to ensure you know about any health problems your pet might be developing.

    Given, pets on average, age five to eight times faster than humans. By age two, most pets have already reached adulthood. At age four, many are entering middle age.

    Because pets age so rapidly, major health changes can occur in a short amount of time. The risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and other serious conditions all increase with age.

    Today’s pets are living longer than ever, chances are that many may experience a potentially serious illness during their lifetime. Annual health checks can help your veterinarian diagnose, treat or even prevent problems before they become life-threatening. They’re also a great opportunity to ask us about nutrition, behaviour or any other issues.

    At different ages, your pet will require different things the veterinarian will need to look at. Adult dogs and cats (1-6 years), annually may require:  vaccinations, check for parasites, heart check, dental check and grading, blood tests and urinary tests.

    In addition, senior animals (7+ years) may also require: osteoarthritis check, chest radiograph, thyroid check, renal disease screen and blood pressure check.

    Call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to discuss annual health checks for your cat.

  • Cat Vaccination

    Vaccination is an essential measure required to prevent your cat from contracting numerous contagious diseases. The more animals that are vaccinated leads to not only protecting that individual animal but also helps protect the population as a whole. Vaccination has revolutionised control of infectious disease in our pets. Responsible pet care requires kittens to be given their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. Adult cats require regular vaccination to maintain immunity against disease.

    Kitten Vaccination
    Kittens are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first couple of months of their lives, however until they drop sufficiently they can also neutralise vaccines. This is why a series of vaccinations is necessary for a kitten.

    Adult Cat Vaccination
    The immunity from kitten vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.

    A Guide to Cat Vaccination
    Initial vaccination programs should provide three vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart against some or all of the following; feline panleucopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, at or after 8 weeks of age. Three vaccinations, 2-4 weeks apart, against feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are recommended at or after 8 weeks of age.

    After Vaccination Care
    Following vaccination your cat may be off-colour for a day or two, or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact us for advice.
      
    Infectious Diseases of Cats That We Vaccinate Against

    Feline Enteritis (also known as Feline Panleucopenia)
    Feline Enteritis is a very contagious and the death rate is high, especially under 12 months of age. Pregnant cats may lose their young or give birth to kittens with abnormalities, quite often with brain damage. Symptoms are depression, loss of appetite, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood and severe abdominal pain.

    The virus spreads so easily that heavily contaminated areas may need cleaning with a special disinfectant. Cats that do recover may continue to carry the virus for some time and infect other cats.

    Feline Respiratory Disease (Catflu)
    Feline Respiratory Disease is caused in 90% of cases by feline herpesvirus (feline rhinotracheitis) and/or feline calicivirus. It affects cats of all ages, especially young kittens, Siamese and Burmese cats. It is highly contagious and causes sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers.

    Fortunately, the death rate is low except in young kittens, but the disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks. Recovered cats can continue to carry and spread the infection for long periods, and can show signs of the disease again if they become stressed.

    Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
    Feline AIDS is a disease caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and affects the cat’s immune system. Their natural defence against attack by other diseases may be seriously affected, much in the same way as human AIDS. The disease is not transmissible to humans. FIV is almost always transmitted by bites from infected cats. The virus that causes the disease is present in saliva.

    While some infected cats show no sign of disease, others may display initial symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes.

    As the disease progresses, symptoms may occur such as weight loss, sores in and around the mouth, eye lesions, poor coat and chronic infections.

    Eventually, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections and diseases. As a result, the cat may die from one of these subsequent infections.

    Dubbo is an area with a lot of feral cats and evidence suggests a lot of these carry the FIV virus. We recommend vaccination of cats in Dubbo that could come in contact with feral cats.

    Please call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to discuss a suitable vaccination regime for your pet kitten or cat.

  • Intestinal Worms

    There are two broad categories of worms that may affect our pet dogs and cats, intestinal worms and heartworms.  Please see our heartworm page for more information.

    Intestinal Worms
    Worming is one of the first health care issues pet owners need to address as pups are the most susceptible. As their name suggests, intestinal worms are parasites that live inside your pet’s intestines. These worms range in size from small to surprisingly large (up to 18cm in length). Regardless of their size however, they all have negative, and potentially deadly effects.

    Most species of animal, as well as humans, can be infected with intestinal worms including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, fish, birds and reptiles.

    Common intestinal worms in Australian pets are: Roundworm; Tapeworm; Whipworm and Hookworm.

    If your pet has a large number of worms it may find it difficult to maintain body condition and it can lose weight. In some cases it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even anaemia (a low red blood cell level). Occasionally, heavy intestinal worm burdens can cause death.

    Worms sometimes have complex lifecycles which involve a period of existence and development outside your pet. Understanding the life cycle of a specific worm is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented. 

    It is important to maintain a routine worming treatment for your pets, to reduce the incidence of infection and to reduce environmental contamination. There are many worming treatments available for the various worm infections that occur in our pets. These are available as tablets, spot-ons or pastes. But please come and talk to us about your worming program because not all products are effective against all worm groups.  Re-infection is a common problem, particularly in pets that are in contact with a heavily contaminated environment. Another very important reason to worm your pets is to protect your family; as children in particular can become infected with certain dog and cat worms.

    Below are some tips to consider regarding worm prevention:

    1. Promptly clean up pet faeces
    2. Practice good hygiene, always encourage children to wash their hands regularly (especially after playing in dirt or sandpits, playing with pets or prior to eating)
    3. Prevent children from playing where the soil may be contaminated
    4. Keep your pet's environment clean

     
    Call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to discuss an intestinal worming program for your pet. 

  • Flea Control

    Fleas are most often seen during the warmer months but as we keep our homes nice and warm throughout winter, we see fleas all year round. Only a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your pet. The fleas’ eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for up to a year, so it is important to not only treat your animal directly for fleas but also decontaminate the environment as well.  Wash your pet’s bedding using the hottest cycle and regularly vacuum/clean carpets. We do not recommend flea collars or flea shampoos alone as they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.

    Fleas will tend to jump onto your pet only to feed and then jump off again. Dogs and cats can have a reaction to flea saliva resulting in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis or FAD. Treatment of FAD can be complicated and veterinary consultation is recommended.

    Some signs that your pet may have fleas include: Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump. You may see fleas (especially over the rump and in the groin region). It can be difficult to find the fleas, but is relatively easy to check for flea dirt.  Simply moisten a cotton ball, part your pet’s fur and place the cotton ball on the skin over the rump. If the cotton ball takes on black specs surrounded by a reddish area, this may be flea dirt and can indicate that your pet has fleas.

    Flea prevention products come as spot-on , chew or tablet . We also have the convenience of a treatment that lasts 3 months.

    Warning: Some non-veterinary brands of flea treatments for dogs are potentially lethal when applied to cats. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.

    Call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to discuss an appropriate flea control program for your cat.

  • Dentistry

    Just like humans, Cats’ teeth need looking after too! The health of their teeth and gums has a significant impact on their overall quality of life. Imagine how your mouth would feel, and smell, if you never brushed your teeth. Imagine having a really bad toothache and not being able to tell anyone about it!

    We have seen a greater awareness over the last 25 years of the importance of dentistry to the overall health of the animals we treat.

    When there is a build up of bacteria, food particles and saliva on the teeth plaque is formed. Plaque sticks to the tooth surface above and below the gum line and if not removed will calcify into tartar (also known as calculus). This appears as a yellow-brown material on the teeth. Over time the bacterial infection in tartar causes irreversible changes to occur. These include the destruction of supportive tissues and bone, resulting in red gums, bad breath and loosening of teeth. This same bacterial infection is also a source of infection for the rest of the body (such as the kidney, liver and heart) and can make your pet seriously ill. Ultimately, dental disease results in many pets unnecessarily suffering tooth loss, gum infection and pain. It also has the potential to shorten your cas’ lifespan.
     
    What if my pet has dental disease?
    Firstly, you should have your cats’ teeth examined by one of our veterinarians on a regular basis and if necessary, follow up with a professional dental clean.

    What does a professional dental clean involve?
    It is the same as a scale and polish done by a dentist for us. However, unlike us, our pets won’t sit still or open their mouth to allow a comprehensive examination and cleaning of their teeth.

    For this reason our pets need to have a general anaesthetic for a professional dental clean.  Your pet will need to be assessed by one of our veterinarians. 

    The degree of dental disease will be assessed to determine if extractions, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories will be required. The assessment may also include a physical exam, blood tests and urine tests to ensure they are healthy prior to having an anaesthetic. 

    Once anaesthetised, we can give the teeth a thorough cleaning using our specialised dental equipment.  Our veterinarians will then remove the tartar above the gumline using a special ultrasonic scaler, just like a dentist uses for our teeth. The teeth are then polished using a dental polisher and specialised fine-grade paste. If the dental disease is not severe, the procedure will end here. However, if certain teeth are so severely affected they cannot be saved, extractions will be necessary. In some cases, gum surgery is required to close the holes left behind when a tooth is extracted, and dissolvable stitches are used for this procedure. Once all dental work is completed, your pet may be given an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory injection, the anaesthetic gas is turned off, and your pet is allowed to wake up. Pets are generally able to go home on the same day.

    Following a professional dental clean, a plan needs to be implemented to minimise build up of tartar again, and will depend on the severity of your pet’s dental disease.  This may involve regular tooth brushing, feeding chicken wings or a special diet. It is recommended that all pets be examined 6 months after dental cleaning to determine the effectiveness of your dental care routine.

    Regular and frequent attention to your pet's teeth may avoid the need for a professional dental clean under anaesthetic, and will also improve your pet's overall health.

    If your pet is showing any of these signs of dental disease please call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to book an appointment to see one of our veterinarians.  Early assessment and action can save your cats’ teeth!

  • Desexing

    Desexing or neutering your cat is a surgical procedure that prevents them from being able to reproduce.

    The most common age to desex your pet is between 4 and 6 months, however they are never too old to be desexed.

    There are many benefits to desexing your cat before 6 months. They include: Preventing unwanted litters, which can be very costly, and may add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that are put down each year; Stopping the “heat” in females resulting in stray male cats hanging around your house;  Living a longer and healthier life and Reduction of council registration fees.

    This is the most frequent surgery performed by our vets, and generally your cat is home by the evening of surgery.

    In male cats it is commonly referred to as “castration”. Cat castrations are a very simple procedure. There is no sutures placed in the incision which means unless there are complications there is usually no need for a revisit after the procedure.

    In female cats it is commonly referred to as “speying”.

    What to do before and after surgery

    Before surgery:

    • Make a booking for your pets operation.
    • Do not give your pet food after 10pm the night before the operation and do not give them any water after 8am on the day of surgery.
    • A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function.
    • The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.
    •  Some pets will require intravenous fluid support during surgery. This will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.
    • To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief prior to desexing.

     
    After Surgery:

    • Keep your pet restrained and quiet as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely.
    • Keeping them quiet is also essential to allow the wound to heal.
    • Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night after surgery.
    • Follow any dietary instructions that the vet has provided.
    • Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions.
    • Ensure your pet’s rest area is clean to avoid infection.
    • Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
    • Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars assist with this problem. A single chew can remove the careful stitching with disastrous effects.
    • Ensure you return to us on time for routine post-operative check-ups and removal of stitches.

    Frequently asked questions about desexing

    “Should I let my cat have a season first to let her settle down better?
    No – This is an urban myth, it is not true.

    Is it better to let her have a litter first?

    No – Similar to letting her have a season first, there is no benefit to her to have a litter at all.

    “Will it cause my pet to become fat?”
    Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing, however this is easily managed with adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot be maintained at a normal weight.

    “Is desexing painful?”
    As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too. Your pet will be discharged after having been given an injection for pain relief.  In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!

    “Will desexing affect my pet’s personality?”
    Your pet will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive.

    If you have any concerns before or after your pet has been desexed, please call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo immediately to discuss. 

  • Microchipping

    A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is injected under your pet’s skin. It can be done during a normal consultation. The microchip is embedded with a code unique to your pet and is the most effective form of permanent identification. This code is placed onto a national computer database, so it is particularly useful in the return of lost pets. They can also assist where the ownership of an animal is in dispute. In New South Wales microchipping of cats is now compulsory.

    If a pet is ever lost and is handed in at a veterinary clinic or animal shelter a microchip scanner is passed over the animal to reveal the unique code. The vet or animal shelter can then refer to the database to identify the name, address and phone number of the owner, so they can be reunited.

    If your pet is not microchipped please give us a call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to make an appointment to have one inserted. 

    If you find a lost pet please call us to arrange a scan, we can reunite microchipped pets with their worried owners.

  • Nail Clipping

    It is recommended a scratching post be available for your cat to keep their claws in good condition for climbing and defending themselves. This will also reduce the chances of your furniture being scratched.

    Regular nail clipping, or trimming, should be part of the routine care of your pet.  It is essential for elderly and indoor pets, whereas outdoor pets may wear their nails down naturally. The requirement for nail trimming can vary depending on age level of exercise and the environment in which your pet is kept.

    Indoor-only cats will need more regular nail trims whereas outdoor cats may naturally wear their nails and require less frequent trimming.

    What happens if my pet’s nails get too long?
    If a pet's nails are allowed to grow, they can split, break or bleed, causing soreness or infection in your pet’s feet and toes. Long nails can get caught and tear, or grow so long that they can curl backwards into a spiral shape that can make walking very painful (it's like walking in shoes that are too small).

    Cats are able to retract their claws so this is less common for them, however, cats do still need to have their nails regularly clipped (especially if they don't get much natural wear and tear). Uncut nails may curl so far that they pierce the paw pad, leading to infection and debilitating pain.

    Nails should be inspected and/or trimmed on at least a monthly basis. If not, the quick tends to grow out with the nail, making it nearly impossible to cut properly. It is very important not to cut the quick of a nail as this is rich in nerve endings and very painful for the pet. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, pressing the nail into a bar of soap will effectively stop the bleeding.

    We have a variety of nail clippers that suit different pets - from the very small to the very tall. 

    Please call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to make an appointment today to have your pet’s nails checked. 

    We can also teach you how to do it if you would prefer to cut them yourself.

  • Boarding Advice

    Going on holidays soon? Or need to rush to Sydney for a medical appointment yourself?

    Before considering whether to board your pet please check their vaccination records to make sure they have been vaccinated within the past 12 months. If your pet is due for a booster vaccination make sure this is done well ahead of the boarding period. Most boarding facilities will require for dogs what is called an F3. This vaccination includes: feline panleucopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis. These terms can often be quite confusion and sometimes different boarding facilities require additional vaccinations. It is best to call the boarding facility and then contact us to ensure all needs are satisfied.

    When choosing a boarding facility, there are a number of factors to consider, such as:

    • How big are the enclosures?
    • Is there any natural light?
    • Will your pet have access to a run during the day?
    • How many enclosures are there in the complex? Fewer enclosures may mean a quieter, calmer stay.
    • Is there a bad smell? If so, this can indicate poor hygiene or ventilation problems.
    • Are the staff/owners welcoming, friendly and polite?
    • Did they require proof of vaccination? Vaccination is a legal requirement to help prevent the spread of disease.
    • Are there signs of overbooking or overcrowding?
    • Do they provide food or can you provide your own pet’s specific diet?
    • Can they medicate cats if required?
    • Which veterinarian do they use in an emergency?

    You will need to inform the boarding facility of any health problems your pet may have had or is prone to. If medication is to be administered you should let them know at time of booking. Write down the dose, frequency and name of medication. If on long term medication, please ensure you bring along extra just in case.  Please provide the boarding facility with our details in the event that your pet needs veterinary attention in your absence.

    An ideal boarding facility for your pet has a relaxed, calm atmosphere, created by having fewer kennels/animals, a design that minimises stress and allows maintenance of a high standard of hygiene.

    Please give call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to discuss boarding and determine if your pet is up to date with the required vaccinations.

  • Behavioural Advice

    Behavioural problems can be due to behavioural causes, medical causes, or both. Our veterinarians will investigate behavioural problems by obtaining a full history and conducting a full examination (sometimes your pet may require blood or urine tests to rule out underlying medical conditions) to accurately diagnose a problem. Behavioural problems are often the combined effect of many factors, including your pet’s environment and learning.

    Genetics can also predispose your pet to some behaviours, however the expression of those behaviours will depend on your pet’s early socialisation and training.

    Changes in the environment may contribute to the emergence of behavioural problems. For example, changes in routine, a new member of the household (pet, baby or spouse), moving house, or the loss of a family member or pet can have a dramatic impact on behaviour. Any medical or degenerative changes associated with ageing may cause the pet to be even more sensitive to these environmental changes.

    Learning also plays a part in many behavioural problems. Early training and socialisation is essential to have a happy, well-adjusted pet. Punishment of behavioural problems often worsens the situation and it is very important that professional advice is obtained as soon as the problem appears to effectively resolve it. Positive reinforcement is the preferred method for changing behaviour, however this also needs to be used carefully as it can encourage undesirable behaviour if used incorrectly.

    How are behavioural problems treated?

    There is no simple cure for any behavioural problem, so be careful when taking ''helpful'' advice. It is very important that the cause of the problem is addressed, not just the symptoms of the problem.

    When it comes to your pet's behaviour, it is extremely important to seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian or animal behaviour specialist. Changing problem behaviour requires commitment on behalf of the whole family, as everyone your pet interacts with will be responsible for encouraging desirable behaviour. Some cases may also require medications alongside the new training techniques to get the best outcome.

    For this and other behavioural problems please call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to make an appointment with one of our veterinarians. 

  • Nutritional Advice

    Along with regular exercise and veterinary care, careful nutrition is the best way you can contribute to your pet's prolonged good health.

    These are the basic nutrients every pet needs:

    • Water is the most essential nutrient in any diet. Your pet's body is made up of approximately 70% water and will quickly perish without it. Ensure your pet can access fresh, clean water at all times.
    • Carbohydrates supply energy and come from sugars, starch, and fibre from plant sources. Carbohydrates help energize the brain and muscles, making your pet bright and active.
    • Fats also supply energy and in the right amounts help build strong cells and promote nutrient absorption. Too much fat however, can lead to such obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis.
    • Proteins are required for a healthy coat, skin, and nails. Your pet's body uses the amino acids in proteins to make enzymes and hormones in the blood stream and to maintain a healthy immune system. Proteins can come from plant and meat sources, but cats and dogs need a high-quality animal protein.
    • Vitamins and minerals help regulate many body systems. For example, your pet needs the minerals calcium and phosphorous for strong bones. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and C help boost your pet's immune system during times of stress.

    How do you make sure your pet's diet is healthy?

    We strongly recommend that you:

    • Feed premium pet foods. Premium foods offer high-quality ingredients, are made by companies specialising in nutritional research, and show a solid track record of quality and palatability. Feeding generic pet foods may lead to obesity, irregular bowel movements, or excess intestinal gas.
    • Make sure the food is fresh. When you purchase pet food, check for freshness and purchase only the amount necessary for your pet. Store pet food in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly closed. Discard uneaten food and always place fresh food in a clean bowl. In general, hard food (or "kibble") is preferred for maintaining dental health and minimizing tartar build-up. Soft, canned food tends to be more palatable and can be stored for longer.
    • Feed the right amount. Ask us or check the label for how much to feed according to your pet's ideal weight (not necessarily the same as their current weight). Avoid feeding pets as much as they want or feeding a large amount at one time. Doing so can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even bloat, a life threatening condition.
    • Maintain a daily routine. A regular schedule will help your pet keep normal bowel movements and avoid indoor accidents. Younger pets need to be fed more frequently, as they are usually more energetic and burn more calories.
    • Avoid "people" food. Your pet's digestive system is simpler than yours and can be easily upset by changes. Feeding table scraps will result in an unbalanced diet, can cause stomach upsets or even life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

    Life Cycle Feeding
     
    Your pet's nutritional requirements will change as they age. Puppies need puppy food because it is higher in energy, calcium and protein, but feeding it to an adult dog can lead to obesity. Likewise, older pets need diets restricted in fat and supplemented with fibre for their optimum health. Many premium senior diets also contain additives to assist in the management of arthritis and can make your pet more comfortable.

    Please call your Dubbo vets Dubbo Vet Dubbo to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs. We will tailor a diet specifically for your pet that will give them the optimum quality and length of life.

    Remember, you are what you eat, and so is your pet!

  • Glossary of Terms

    Abdomen
    The abdomen is that part of the body, lying between the chest and pelvis, containing the digestive organs (i.e. the belly)
     
    Abscess
    Localized accumulation of pus in a cavity; usually associated with infection. A common outcome of cat fights.
     
    Acute
    A rapid and often severe onset. (e.g. acute infection)
     
    Addison's Disease
    Is a rare, disorder in which the adrenal glands produce insufficient steroid hormones (corticosteroids). Lifelong treatment with steroid replacement therapy is required, with regular follow-up treatment and monitoring for other health problems.
     
    Alimentary
    Pertaining to food or the digestive tract (alimentary canal).
     
    Allergen
    An allergen is a substance that can cause an allergic reaction. In allergic animals, the immune system recognizes allergens as "foreign" or "dangerous" and responds accordingly. In non-allergic animals these substances cause no immune response.
     
    Alopecia
    Loss of hair from the head or body. Hair loss, or alopecia, can have a variety of causes, including parasites, hormone imbalance, food allergies and infection. In order to treat your pet’s skin problem, it is important to identify the cause.
     
    Analgesia
    The relief of pain. An analgesic is something designed to relieve pain.
     
    Anaphylaxis
    Anaphylaxis refers to a rapidly developing and serious allergic reaction that afects a number of different areas of the body at one time. Severe anaphylactic reactions can be fatal.
     
    Anaemia
    A lower than normal level of red blood cells (also referred to as erythrocytes) carrying oxygen to the body.
     
    Anaesthesia
    Anaesthesia is the total loss of feeling or sensation. It is induced with drugs to allow surgery or procedures to be performed without causing pain. Anaesthesia may be applied to the whole body, when it is known as general anaesthesia, or to part of the body, when it is known as local anaesthesia.
     
    Anorexia
    Loss of appetite, whatever the cause.
     
    Antibiotics
    A compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.
     
    Antibody
    Also known as an immunoglobulin is a large Y-shaped protein to identify and neutralize foreign antigens like bacteria and viruses.
     
    Antiemetic
    A medication used to treat vomiting and nausea.
     
    Antifungal
    A medication used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm.
     
    Antigen
    A substance that triggers the production of an antibody. The immune system recognizes an antigen as a foreign and potentially harmful invader (e.g. bacteria and viruses).
     
    Antipruritic
    A medication to relieve itching.
     
    Antipyretic
    A medication to reduce a fever or high temperature.
     
    Antitussive
    A medication to relieve coughing. Veterinarians often prescribe antitussive medications to pets that suffer from conditions that cause severe or intense coughing, such as canine cough
     
    Anus
    Opening at the end of an animal’s digestive tract where faeces are expelled.
     
    Arrhythmia
    Disruption in the regularity of the heartbeat. They occur when the electrical impulses to the heart that co-ordinate heartbeats are not working properly, making the heart beat too fast/slow or inconsistently.
     
    Articular
    Pertaining to a joint.
     
    Ascites
    The build-up of additional fluid in the abdomen, otherwise called the peritoneal cavity.
     
    Aspirate
    To draw in or out using a sucking motion. Aspiration can also mean breathing in a foreign object (such as inhaling food into the airway).
     
    Asymptomatic
    If a patient is a carrier for a disease or infection but is not experiencing clinical signs.
     
    Ataxia
    A neurological sign that consists of a lack of motor coordination of muscle movements. It often manifests as wobbliness or unsteadiness in animals.
     
    Atopy
    Is a predisposition toward developing certain allergic reactions. Commonly used to describe atopic dermatitis, which results in skin irritation and inflammation.
     
    Atrial Fibrillation
    An irregular heart rhythm associated with disorganized electrical activity in the upper two chambers of the heart (atria). Its name comes from the fibrillating (i.e. quivering) of the heart muscles of the atria, instead of a coordinated contraction. The result of the rapid, irregular beats is ineffective filling of the ventricles, the bottom two chambers of the heart that pump blood out to the body.
     
    Atrium
    Most commonly refers to a chamber in which blood enters the heart, as opposed to the ventricle, where it is pushed out.
     
    Atrophy
    Atrophy is the progressive decrease in the size of an organ or tissue.
     
    Attenuated
    Weakened. Normally refers to an attenuated vaccine whereby the disease-causing abilities of the vaccine components are weakened or attenuated during the manufacturing process to make them safe upon administration.
     
    Auscultate
    Auscultation is a method used to listen to the sounds of the body during a physical examination, usually with a stethoscope.
     
    Autoimmune
    A medical condition characterized by an overactive immune system which attacks the body, mistaking normal tissues in the body for harmful substances.
     
    Azotaemia
    A medical condition characterized by abnormally high levels of nitrogen-containing compounds, such as urea and creatinine, commonly as a result of kidney malfunction or dehydration.
     
    Bacterium
    A bacterium is a unicellular microorganism which represents one of the most basic and primitive forms of life. Bacteria are everywhere.  Some bacteria are capable of causing disease in animals.
     
    Benign
    Harmless.
     
    Bilateral
    Meaning two sides.
     
    Bile
    A green/yellow liquid formed in the liver. Bile plays a vital role in the digestion of fats.
     
    Biopsy
    The removal of a sample of tissue or cells from a living subject to determine the presence or extent of a disease.
     
    Bitch
    A female dog.
     
    Bladder
    A sac that receives and holds a liquid until it is excreted.  Often refers to the urinary bladder.
     
    Bloat
    A medical condition in which the stomach becomes overstretched by excessive gas. Bloat is a very serious health risk for many deep-chested dogs.
     
    Blood Glucose
    The amount of glucose (sugar) present in the blood.
     
    Bone Marrow

    Bone marrow is a spongy, fatty tissue that houses stem cells, located inside a few large bones. These stem cells transform themselves into white and red blood cells and platelets.
     
    Borborygmus
    The rumbling noise caused by the movement of gas through the stomach and/or intestines.

    Bradycardia
    An abnormally slow heart rate.
     
    Bronchi

    The large airways within the lungs.
     
    Bronchodilator
    A substance that dilates the airways in the lungs.
     
    BUN
    Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) measures the amount of urea nitrogen, a waste product of protein metabolism, in the blood.  It can be used as an aid to measure kidney function.
     
    Caecum
    Part of the gastrointestinal tract between the small and large intestines. It is a small, coiled organ in dogs.
     
    Calcified

    The build-up of calcium salts in soft tissue, causing it to harden.
     
    Calculus
    A concretion of material, usually mineral salts, that forms in an organ of the body. Bladder or kidney stones are an example of calculus.
     
    Cancer
    A class of disease in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth and invasion that intrudes upon and destroys adjacent tissues. Cancers sometimes spread to other locations in the body. This term is normally used to describe malignant tumours.
     
    Candida
    This fungus or yeast can normally be found in areas of the body such as the mouth, the genital and intestinal tracts. It can cause disease in animals.
     
    Canine
    Pertaining to dogs.
     
    Carcinoma
    A subtype of cancer that arises from epithelial cells. Epithelial cells form the lining of our internal organs, cavities, glands, and skin.
     
    Cardiac
    Pertaining to the heart.
     
    Cardiomyopathy
    Literally means "heart muscle disease".
     
    Cardiopulmonary

    A term relating to both the heart and lungs.
     
    Cardiovascular
    Refers to the circulatory system comprising the heart and blood vessels which carries nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes.
     
    Carpus
    The animal equivalent of our wrist.
     
    Castration

    Removal of the testicles.
     
    Cataract
    White opacities in the lens of the eye. Cataracts are one of the most common problems affecting the eyes of the dog. There are many different forms and causes of cataract formation. Severe cataracts can cause blindness and may be an indicator of underlying diseases like diabetes.
     
    Caudal
    A term meaning toward the tail or the posterior end of the body.
     
    Cerebellum
    A region of the brain that plays an important role in motor control and co-ordination.
     
    Cerebrum
    A region of the brain that controls emotional, behavioural and learning functions.
     
    Chemotherapy
    Treatment of cancer with drugs. The drugs used are slightly more toxic to cancer cells than healthy cells, so the cancer is treated without causing permanent damage.

    Chronic
    A disease of slow onset and of long duration. (e.g. chronic osteoarthritis)
     
    Cirrhosis
    A chronic disease of the liver whereby healthy tissue is replaced by scar tissue.
     
    Central Nervous System (CNS)
    Consists of the brain and spinal cord.
     
    Coagulation
    The process by which the body forms a blood clot (thrombus) that prevents further blood loss from damaged tissues, blood vessels or organs.
     
    Coagulopathy
    A defect in the body's mechanism for making blood clots.
     
    Coccidia
    Coccidia are microscopic, single celled organisms that infect animal cells. They can cause watery or bloody diarrhoea in pets.
     
    Colitis
    Inflammation of the large intestine (colon).
     
    Colon
    The section of the large intestine extending from the caecum to the rectum.
     
    Colostrum
    Colostrum is an antibody-rich milk which is secreted by all female animals during the first few days of a newborn’s life.
     
    Coma
    A state of unconsciousness from which an animal cannot be awakened.
     
    Complete Blood Count
    A complete blood count (CBC), also known as full blood count (FBC) or blood panel, is a test that gives information about the cells in a patient's blood. It is used to evaluate overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anaemia and infection.
     
    Computerized Tomography Scan (CT Scan)
    Also called computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan, combines a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles to produce cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your pet’s body.
     
    Congenital
    A condition that is present at birth.
     
    Conjunctiva
    The tissue lining the inner surface of the eyelids and covering the white of the eyes (sclera).
     
    Conjunctivitis
    Inflammation of the conjunctiva.
     
    Constipation
    A condition in which bowel movements occur less often than usual or consist of hard, dry stools that are painful or difficult to pass.
     
    Coprophagia
    The eating of faeces. Is considered normal behaviour in some species, such as rabbits. However, in other species coprophagy can be related to certain diseases or behavioural problems.
     
    Core Vaccine
    Vaccines which are strongly recommended, and sometimes even required.  For example, parvovirus vaccine in dogs or panleucopenia in cats.
     
    Cornea
    The clear front part of the eye.
     
    Corticosteroid
    Any of the steroid hormones produced by the adrenal gland or their synthetic equivalents.
     
    Cranial
    Pertaining to the head or in the direction of the head.
     
    Culture
    The propagation of microorganisms in a growth media. Used to diagnose and guide treatment for infectious diseases.
     
    Cushing’s Syndrome
    A condition where abnormalities in either the pituitary gland or adrenal glands cause the release of too much natural cortisone (corticosteroid).

    Cutaneous
    Relating to, or affecting the skin.
     
    Cyanosis
    A bluish colour of the skin and the mucous membranes due to insufficient oxygen in the blood.
     
    Cyst
    A pathologic space in bone or soft tissue containing fluid or semi-solid material.
     
    Cystitis
    Inflammation of the urinary bladder.
     
    Cytology
    Refers to a branch of pathology that deals with making diagnoses of diseases based on the examination of cells.
     
    Dehydration
    The excessive loss of body water.
     
    Dermal
    Pertaining to the skin.
     
    Dermatitis
    Inflammation of the skin.
     
    Diabetes Mellitus
    A disease where the body is unable to absorb sugars (glucose). It is commonly treated with insulin.
     
    Diagnostic Test
    A test to determine the presence or cause of disease.
     
    Diarrhoea
    Excessive and frequent evacuation of watery faeces, usually indicating gastrointestinal distress or disorder.
     
    Digestive System
    The organs responsible for the transit and metabolism of food in the body. These organs include salivary glands, mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, colon, rectum, and anus.
     
    Dilated Cardiomyopathy
    A disorder in which the chambers of the heart are dilated (enlarged). The heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump effectively.
     
    Disinfection
    A cleaning process which destroys most microorganisms, but not highly resistant forms.
     
    Distemper
    An infectious viral disease occurring in dogs.  Clinical signs include loss of appetite, a discharge from the eyes and nose, vomiting, fever, lethargy, partial paralysis and sometimes death.
     
    Diuretic
    A substance increases the production of urine.

    Domestic Animal
    An animal that is not wild and is kept as a pet or to produce food.
     
    Dry Eye
    Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a condition that results from the inadequate production of tears.
     
    Duodenum
    The first part of the small intestine. The duodenum extends from the stomach to the jejunum (the second part of the small intestine).
     
    Duration of Immunity
    Length of time an animal is protected from a disease after vaccination. Vaccines for some diseases provide a long duration of immunity, others only provide immunity for up to a year.

    Dysphagia
    Difficulty in swallowing.
     
    Dysplasia
    A term used in pathology  meaning abnormal development of tissues.
     
    Dyspnoea
    Difficult or laboured breathing; shortness of breath.
     
    Dystocia
    Difficult birth.

    Dysuria
    Painful or difficult urination.
     
    Ear Canal
    The narrow tube, between the ear and ear drum, through which sound enters the ear.
     
    Ear Drum
    The thin membrane that separates the middle ear from the external ear. Also called the tympanic membrane.
     
    Ear Mites
    Mites that live in the ears of animals. They can just barely be seen as a small white dot with the naked eye.
     
    ECG
    An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart.
     
    Echocardiogram
    A test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart (i.e. an ultrasound of the heart).
     
    Ectoparasite
    A parasite, such as a flea, that lives on the exterior of an animal.

    Ectopic
    Meaning "out of place." (e.g. an ectopic pregnancy is one that has implanted outside the reproductive system)
     
    Electrolyte
    In medicine, certain mineral elements that are critically important to life, including sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and phosphorous.

    Elizabethan Collar
    A medical device that is shaped just like a cone and is used to prevent the animal from biting, licking, and scratching at wounds and injuries while they heal.
     
    Emaciation
    A wasted condition of the body.
     
    Emesis
    Vomiting.
     
    Encephalitis
    Inflammation of the brain.
     
    Encephalopathy
    Disease, damage, or malfunction of the brain.
     
    Endocrine
    Pertaining to hormones and the glands that make them. These hormones regulate an animal's growth, physiology and sexual development.
     
    Endoscope
    A lighted medical instrument used to get examine organs such as the oesophagus, stomach or airways.
     
    Endotracheal Tube
    A breathing tube placed into the trachea. Commonly used during anaesthesia to facilitate delivery of oxygen and anaesthetic to the lungs.
     
    Enteritis

    Inflammation of the intestine, especially the small intestine

    Envenomation
    The act of injecting a poisonous material (venom) by sting, spine or bite.
     
    Enzyme
    Enzymes are proteins that increase the rate of chemical reaction. Almost all processes in a cell need enzymes to occur at significant rates.
     
    Epidermis
    The outer layer of the skin.

    Epistaxis
    Technical name for bleeding from the nose.
     
    Erythema

    Redness of the skin resulting from dilation of blood vessels caused by irritation or injury to the tissue.
     
    Erythrocyte
    A red blood cell.
     
    Faeces

    Bodily waste matter derived from ingested food that is discharged through the anus; also called stool.

    Feline
    Of or relating to cats.
     
    Foetus
    An unborn animal in the later stages of development showing recognisable features of the mature animal.
     
    Fine Needle Aspirate
    A diagnostic procedure sometimes used to investigate superficial (just under the skin) lumps or masses. In this technique, a thin, hollow needle is inserted into the mass to extract cells that, after being stained, will be examined under a microscope.
     
    FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)
    A virus that specifically infects cats (not people).  It is transmitted by cats biting one another, especially during fights.  FIV is the cause of Feline AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) – a progressive deficiency of the immune system that can limit the ability of cats to fight off other infections.
     
    Flatulence
    Generating excessive gas in the gastrointestinal tract
     
    FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease)
    Describes a collection of conditions that can affect the urinary tract (bladder and/or urethra) of cats. Common clinical signs include straining to urinate and blood in the urine.
     
    Follicle

    A small cavity or deep narrow-mouthed depression (e.g. hair follicle)

    Foreign Body
    Any abnormal substance within the body.  Commonly used to describe foreign material under the skin (eg splinters, glass) or in the gastrointestinal tract (e.g. toys, balls, bones).
     
    Fracture
    Breaking of hard tissue such as bone. May be caused by trauma or bone disease.
     
    Gait
    The manner of walking or moving. Assessed to determine the cause of lameness in animals.
     
    Gastric
    Relating to or involving the stomach.
     
    Gastritis
    Inflammation of the lining of the stomach.
     
    Gastrointestinal
    Relating to the stomach and intestines.
     
    Gestation
    The carrying of an embryo or foetus
     
    Gingival
    Pertaining to the gums.
     
    Gingivitis
    Inflammation of the gums.
     
    Glaucoma

    A disease of the eye caused by increased pressure within the eyeball.  Glaucoma can lead to damage of the optic disk and gradual loss of vision.
     
    Glucosuria
    The excretion of glucose in the urine. Normally, urine does not contain glucose as the kidneys are able to reclaim glucose back into the bloodstream.
     
    Granuloma

    A mass or nodule of chronically inflamed tissue.
     
    Haemangiosarcoma
    A malignant tumour of the blood vessels, usually occurring in the skin, liver or spleen.
     
    Haematocrit
    The volume of red blood cells in a sample of blood after it has been centrifuged (spun at high speeds). The PCV (Packed Cell Volume), or haematocrit, is expressed as a percentage. For example, normal for dogs is 40-59% and for cats is 29-50%.
     
    Haematology
    The study of blood and diseases of the blood.
     
    Haematoma
    A localised swelling filled with blood outside the blood vessels. Usually occurs due to haemorrhage.
     
    Haematuria
    The presence of blood in the urine; often a clinical sign of urinary tract disease.
     
    Haemorrhage
    Bleeding.
     
    Heartworm
    Also known as Dirofilaria immitis, is a parasite that is spread from host to host via the bites of mosquitoes. The natural host is the dog but it can also infect cats and ferrets too. The worms mature in the heart and may cause a physical blockage as well as thickening of the heart and associated blood vessels. 
     
    Hepatic
    Relating to, affecting, or associated with the liver.
     
    Hepatitis
    Inflammation of the liver.
     
    Hepatomegaly
    Abnormal enlargement of the liver.
     
    Hernia
    Protrusion of an organ through a wall of the cavity in which it is normally enclosed.
     
    Hormone
    A chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the animal.
     
    Host
    A living animal on or in which a parasite lives.
     
    Hybrid
    The progeny of two animals of different races, breeds, varieties or species.

    Hydrocephalus
    An abnormal increase in the amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the cranial cavity. This may cause increased pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head, brain damage and even death.
     
    Hyper
    A prefix meaning more than normal.
     
    Hyperglycaemia
    High levels of glucose in the blood.
     
    Hyperplasia
    An abnormal increase in the number of cells in a tissue or organ.
     
    Hypersensitivity
    An allergic condition in which the body overreacts to certain substances, such as a bee sting or medication.
     
    Hypertension
    High blood pressure.
     
    Hyperthermia

    Elevated body temperature.
     
    Hyperthyroidism
    Increased production of thyroid hormones caused by an overactive thyroid gland. This condition is more commonly seen in cats.
     
    Hypertrophy
    An enlargement of an organ or a tissue as a result of an increase in the size of cells (rather than the number as in hyperplasia).
     
    Hyperventilate
    To breathe excessively hard and fast causing blood gas disorders.
     
    Hypo
    A prefix meaning less than normal.
     
    Hypoglycaemia
    Low levels of glucose in the blood.
     
    Hypoplasia
    Incomplete formation of a structure or organ in the body.
     
    Hypotension
    Low blood pressure.
     
    Hypothermia
    An abnormally low body temperature.
     
    Hypothyroidism
    Decreased production of thyroid hormones caused by an underactive thyroid gland. This condition is more commonly seen in dogs.
     
    Hypoxia
    Deficiency in the amount of oxygen delivered to the body tissues.
     
    Icterus
    Also known as jaundice.  It is a yellow discolouration of the skin, mucous membranes or whites of the eyes due to excessive levels of bilirubin in the blood.
     
    IDDM
    Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is a form of diabetes in which patients have little or no ability to produce insulin and are therefore entirely dependent on insulin injections.
     
    Idiopathic
    Disease arising from an unknown cause.
     
    Ileus
    Lack motility of the gastrointestinal tract.
     
    Immune System
    The system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and infections.
     
    Immune-Mediated

    Describes conditions which result from abnormal activity of the body's immune system. For example, immune mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA), is a disease in which the body's immune system destroys the body's own red blood cells.
     
    Immunity
    A condition in which the animal's immune system has been primed and is able to protect the body from a disease-causing agent such as a virus or bacteria.
     
    Immunisation
    The creation of immunity usually against a particular disease. Vaccination is a way to produce immunisation. However, a vaccinated animal is not always immune. If the body did not respond appropriately to the vaccine or if the vaccine was not administered correctly, immunity may not be stimulated.
     
    Immunodeficiency

    Immunological disorder in which the body's immune system is inadequate and resistance to infectious diseases is reduced.  Can be caused by viral infections such as feline immunodeficiency virus in cats.
     
    Immunosuppressive
    Pertaining to a substance that suppresses the immune system.
     
    Inactivated Vaccine
    Vaccines which are made by taking the real, disease-causing viruses (or bacteria), killing them, and putting them into a liquid base. Also called a killed vaccine.
     
    Incontinence
    Loss of control over urination or defaecation.
     
    Incubation Period
    The period between infection and the appearance of clinical signs of the disease.
     
    Infection
    Pathological state resulting from the invasion of the body by microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses.
     
    Infestation
    Refers to the state of being invaded or overrun by parasites.
     
    Inflammation
    A local response to injury that is characterised by redness, heat, pain, swelling, and often loss of function.
     
    Inherited
    Tending to occur among members of a family. Genetically transmitted features.
     
    Innate
    Inborn. A permanent characteristic present since birth.
     
    Insulin
    A hormone secreted by the pancreas to regulate glucose in the body.
     
    Insulin Resistance
    A condition where insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood sugars.
     
    Intermediate Host
    A host (animal, insect, snail etc) that harbours a parasite only for a short transition period, during which (usually) some developmental stage is completed.
     
    Intestine
    The portion of the gastrointestinal tract extending from the stomach to the anus. It is usually divided into two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine.
     
    Intracellular
    Inside the cell.
     
    Intracranial
    Inside the cranial cavity or head.
     
    Intramuscular
    Into the muscle.  Generally relates to the site an injection is given.

    Intranasal
    Into the nose.  This is an effective way of vaccinating dogs against canine cough.
     
    Intravenous
    Into the vein.  Generally relates to the site of injection of drugs or fluids.
     
    Intussusception
    Serious disorder in which part of the intestine slides, or telescopes, into another part of the intestine. This often blocks the intestine, preventing food or fluid from passing through.
     
    Iris
    The coloured portion of the eye is called the iris. In the centre of the iris is the black opening called the pupil.
     
    Jaundice
    Also called icterus, meaning that a yellow pigment is found in the blood and in the tissues. It is most easily seen in the gums and the whites of eyes.  It can be caused by destruction of red blood cells, liver disease and obstruction of the bile duct.
     
    Jejunum
    The second part of the small intestine. The jejunum extends from the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) to the ileum (the final part of the small intestine).
     
    Jugular
    Pertaining to the neck. The jugular veins carry deoxygenated blood from the head back to the heart.
     
    Keratitis
    Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea (the clear part of the eye). The cornea becomes cloudy, resulting in loss of transparency. All types of keratitis must be treated by a veterinarian.
     
    Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
    Also known as dry eye, is a condition that results from the inadequate production of tears.
     
    Ketoacidosis

    A life-threatening condition associated with uncontrolled diabetes.
     
    Killed Vaccine
    Also known as inactivated vaccines. Vaccines which are made by taking the real, disease-causing viruses (or bacteria), killing them, and putting them into a liquid base.
     
    Lactation
    The secretion of milk from the mammary gland and the period of time that a mother lactates to feed her young.
     
    Large Intestine
    The portion of the intestine that connects the small intestine to the anus. The large intestine is made up of the caecum, colon and rectum.
     
    Larva (plural larvae)
    A distinct juvenile form many animals (such as insects or parasites) undergo before metamorphosis into adults.
     
    Larynx
    Also known as the voicebox, it is located at the entrance to the trachea (or windpipe).  The larynx acts to control the flow of air to the trachea and food and water to the oesophagus.
     
    Latent
    A dormant stage of disease occurring between exposure to a disease-causing agent and the onset of the disease.
     
    Liver
    A large organ in the front of the abdomen that is responsible for the detoxification of blood, the production of certain digestive enzymes and bile.
     
    Lymph Nodes
    Are small glands composed of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes play a critical role in the immune system by destroying infectious agents (such as viruses and bacteria) and producing antibodies.
     
    Malabsorption Syndrome
    Defined as an animal’s inability to absorb the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs from food.
     
    Malignant
    Refers to becoming worse and even resulting in death. Malignant tumours are cancerous growths which expand quickly and can metastasize, or spread to other areas of the body.
     
    Malnutrition

    A condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess, or in the wrong proportions.

    Mammary
    Pertaining to the mammary gland or breast tissue.
     
    Mandible
    The lower jaw.
     
    Mange

    Any of several skin diseases of mammals caused by parasitic mites that burrow into the skin or hair follicles.  It is characterised by skin lesions, itching and loss of hair.
     
    Mast Cell Tumour
    Mast cell tumours are cancerous proliferations of mast cells that can spread throughout the body. These tumours are the most frequently recognised malignant or potentially malignant tumours of dogs. They may develop anywhere on the body surface as well as in internal organs. Mast cell tumours have varying appearances ranging from a wart-like nodule to an ulcerated mass to a small lump.
     
    Masticate
    Mastication or chewing is the process by which food is crushed and ground by teeth.
     
    Mastitis

    Refers to swelling, inflammation, and infection of the mammary glands.
     
    Maternal Antibody
    Antibodies acquired by a newborn animal via the placenta or colostrum (antibody-rich milk) of the mother.
     
    Megacolon
    A functional disorder that is defined as dilation of the colon or large intestine. This leads to infrequent and difficult passage of faeces and constipation.
     
    Melaena
    Darkening of the faeces by digested blood pigments. Typically the faeces look black in colour.
     
    Metacarpus
    The long bones in the front foot connecting the toes to the bones of the wrist (carpus).
     
    Metastasis
    The spread of disease from one area of the body to another.  Normally used in the context of a cancerous tumour spreading via the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
     
    Metatarsus
    The long bones in the back foot connecting the toes to the bones of the ankle (tarsus).
     
    Microfilaria
    The larval form of some parasitic worms. For example heartworm microfilariae circulate in the bloodstream of infected dogs.
     
    Microorganism
    A microscopic, single-celled organism. Microorganisms include bacteria, fungi and viruses.
     
    Modified Live Vaccine
    A vaccine that utilises a live, attenuated (weakened) bacteria or virus to elicit an immune response.
     
    Mucolytic

    Medications capable of breaking down or reducing the viscosity of mucus.
     
    Mucosa
    Thin layer of tissue lining cavities that are exposed to the external environment and internal environment (such as the mouth, urinary bladder, eyelids). Also known as mucous membranes.
     
    Mucous Membranes
    Thin layer of tissue lining cavities that are exposed to the external environment and internal environment (such as the mouth, urinary bladder, eyelids).  Also known as mucosa.
     
    Musculoskeletal
    Pertaining to the muscles and skeleton (bones).
     
    Myasthenia Gravis
    Is a neuromuscular disease in which severe muscle weakness is the primary sign. It is caused by an inability of certain nerve receptors to function properly.
     
    Mydriasis
    Large or dilated pupil size.
     
    Myelogram
    Radiograph (x-ray) of the spinal cord taken after a radio-opaque dye has been injected into the space around the spinal cord.
     
    Myocardium
    Muscle of the heart.
     
    Nebulise
    To convert a liquid into a spray for inhalational treatments.
     
    Necropsy
    Also known as an autopsy or post-mortem examination.  It refers to the examination of an animal after death.
     
    Necrosis
    Is the premature death of cells and living biological tissue.
     
    Nematodes
    Also known as roundworms.
     
    Neoplasia
    A class of disease in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth, invasion that intrudes upon and destroys adjacent tissues, and sometimes spreads to other locations in the body. Can be used to describe malignant or benign tumours.
     
    Neuropathy
    A condition involving a dysfunction of the nerves.
     
    Neuter
    Also known as desexing.  It involves the surgical removal of the testes in males or the ovaries and uterus in females.
     
    Nodule
    Nodules are solid lumps or bumps found on an animal's skin.
     
    Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
    Medications with anti-inflammatory, analgaesic (pain reducing) and anti-pyretic (fever-reducing) effects. Non-steroidal distinguishes NSAIDs from other drugs which contain steroids, which are also anti-inflammatory.
     
    Non-core Vaccine
    Vaccines that should be administered to animals assessed to be at risk of that disease.  For example leptospirosis and canine cough in dogs or feline leukaemia and FIV in cats.
     
    Non-pathogenic
    Not capable of causing disease.
     
    Nutraceutical
    A term combining the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”. It is used to describe a food or part of a food that allegedly provides medicinal or health benefits.
     
    Nutrient

    Any substance which has nutritious qualities.
     
    Nystagmus
    A term describe involuntary eye movement. Nystagmus can be horizontal, vertical or rotary.
     
    Obsessive Compulsive
    A behavioural condition in which a pet repeatedly performs an action out of context.
     
    Occult
    Refers to a structure or process that is hidden or detected indirectly.
     
    Ocular
    Pertaining to the eye.
     
    Oedema
    The medical term for fluid retention in the body, causing swelling to occur in the affected area.
     
    Oesophagus
    The part of the intestinal tract between the mouth and stomach.
     
    Off Label
    Refers to a drug prescribed to treat a condition for which it has not been approved. Off-label use of a drug must be determined by the attending veterinarian.
     
    Opioid
    A synthetic narcotic that resembles naturally occurring opium.
     
    Osteomyelitis
    Term to describe an infection of the bone or bone marrow.
     
    Otic
    Relating to the ear.
     
    Ototoxic
    Damaging to the structures of the ear.
     
    Ovulate
    The release of an egg from the ovary of the female
     
    Oxytocin
    A hormone that stimulates the uterus to contract during birth and the mammary glands to release milk.
     
    Packed Cell Volume (PCV)
    The volume of blood cells in a sample of blood after it has been centrifuged  The PCV, or haematocrit, is expressed as a percentage. For example, normal for dogs is 40-59% and for cats is 29-50%.
     
    Palatable
    Acceptable to the taste; readily eaten.
     
    Palpation
    The act of feeling with the hand or fingers. A phase of the physical examination in which the sense of touch is used to gather information essential for diagnosis.
     
    Pancreatitis
    A term that describes inflammation of the pancreas. Clinical signs include vomiting, lethargy and a painful abdomen.
     
    Pannus
    Also known as chronic superficial keratitis, it is an inflammatory condition of the cornea in which blood vessels grow across the surface.
     
    Papule
    A small solid bump rising from the skin that is usually less than 1 centimetre in diameter.
     
    Paralysis
    Refers to loss of motor function due to impairment of muscles or nerves.
     
    Parasiticide
    A substance used to destroy parasites.
     
    Parenterally
    Refers to the administration of a drug into the body through some way other than the digestive tract, such as subcutaneous or intravenous injection.
     
    Paresis
    Refers to partial loss of motor function due to impairment of muscles or nerves.
     
    Parturition
    Term used to describe delivery of a baby or giving birth.
     
    Passive Immunity
    Is the transfer of antibodies from one individual to another. It can occur naturally, when maternal antibodies are transferred to the newborn animal in colostrum, and can also be transferred artificially, such as a plasma transfusion.
     
    Pathogenic
    Causing disease.  Usually used to describe bacteria which are capable of causing disease.
     
    Pathologist
    Person who specialises in the diagnosis of diseases through the examination of animal tissue and body fluids.
     
    PCV (Packed Cell Volume)
    The volume of blood cells in a sample of blood after it has been centrifuged. The PCV, or haematocrit, is expressed as a percentage. For example, normal for dogs is 40-59% and for cats is 29-50%.
     
    Perianal Fistula
    A painful condition of the skin surrounding the anus, in which small tracts open up, bleed and get infected. 
     
    Perineal
    The region of the body between the genitals and the anus.
     
    Peritoneum
    A thin membrane that lines the abdominal and pelvic cavities, and covers most abdominal organs.
     
    Peritonitis
    Inflammation of the peritoneum.
     
    Phalanges
    The bones that are in the toes.
     
    Pheromone
    Chemicals released by an animal enabling it to communicate with other members of its own species.
     
    Photosensitivity
    Refers to an increase in the reactivity of the skin to sunlight. It can cause reddening and blistering of the skin.
     
    Pica
    A pattern of eating non-food materials (such as dirt or rocks).
     
    Placebo
    A dummy medication or treatment.
     
    Plaque
    A biofilm that develops naturally on the teeth. It is formed by colonising bacteria trying to attach itself to the smooth surface of a tooth.
     
    Platelets
    Are found in the blood of animals and functions to promote blood clotting. Also known as thrombocytes.
     
    Polyarthritis
    The term means inflammation of more than one joint. Often used in the context of infectious or immune-mediated diseases.

    Polydactyl
    Having more than the normal number of toes.
     
    Polydipsia
    Excessive thirst and drinking.
     
    Polyp
    An abnormal growth of tissue projecting from a mucous membrane.
     
    Polyphagia

    Excessive appetite and eating.
     
    Polyuria
    Excessive production of urine.
     
    Postoperative
    After surgery or an operation.
     
    Prepuce
    The fold of skin that covers the penis.
     
    Progesterone
    A hormone produced by the ovaries which is responsible for the continuation of pregnancy and a myriad of other functions.
     
    Prognosis
    The forecasted outcome of a disease process or treatment.
     
    Prolapsed Rectum
    Describes a medical condition where part of the rectum protrudes through the anus.
     
    Protozoans
    Any of a large group of single-celled organisms that live in water or as parasites. Examples include Giardia and Coccidia species.
     
    Pruritus
    Itchiness.
     
    Psittacine
    Relating to, resembling, or characteristic of parrots.
     
    Pulmonary
    Pertaining to the lungs.
     
    Pulmonary Arteries
    The artery that carries blood with low levels of oxygen from the heart to the lungs.
     
    Pulmonary Oedema
    The accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

    Pustule
    A small lump in the skin filled with pus.
     
    Pyoderma
    A bacterial infection of the skin.
     
    Pyometra
    An accumulation of pus within the uterus.
     
    Queen
    A breeding female cat.
     
    Radiology
    A branch of veterinary science dealing with the medical use of X-rays to diagnose and treat disease.
     
    Recumbency
    Lying down.
     
    Regurgitation
    Expelling food from the oesophagus.
     
    Renal
    Pertaining to the kidneys.
     
    Renal Insufficiency
    Also called renal failure, is when the kidneys no longer function well enough to maintain a normal state of health.
     
    Respiratory
    Pertaining to respiration, the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
     
    Retina
    Term referring to the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye.
     
    Ringworm
    Refers to a fungal skin infection.
     
    Sebaceous Glands
    Microscopic gland in the skin that secrete an oily/waxy substance.
     
    Separation Anxiety
    Is a behavioural condition where dogs, when left alone, exhibit distress and behavioural problems.
     
    Sepsis
    A toxic state caused by the absorption of pathogenic microorganisms and their products into the bloodstream or tissues.
     
    Septicaemia

    A toxic state caused by the absorption of pathogenic microorganisms and their products into the bloodstream.
     
    Serology
    Refers to blood tests that detect the presence of antibodies against an antigen or microorganism.
     
    Serum
    The clear yellowish fluid obtained upon separating whole blood into its solid and liquid components after it has been allowed to clot.
     
    Shedding
    A term used to describe the release of organisms (bacteria, protozoa, viruses) into the environment from an infected animal.
     
    Skin Cytology
    The microscopic examination of cells that have been collected from the skin. 
     
    Skin Scraping
    A diagnostic test used in almost every skin condition. The skin is scraped and the material examined under a microscope.
     
    Smooth Muscle
    A special type of muscle responsible for the contractility of hollow organs, such as blood vessels, the gastrointestinal tract, the bladder, or the uterus.
     
    Spay (ovariohysterectomy)
    Term referring to the surgical removal of the reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus) of the female animal.
     
    Sphincter
    A ring of muscle which holds any kind of biological opening closed.
     
    Spleen
    A large abdominal organ with important roles in regard to red blood cells and the immune system.
     
    Stasis
    Refers to the state in which the normal flow of a body liquid stops, for example the flow of intestinal contents through the digestive tract.
     
    Status Epilepticus
    A very serious neurological condition in which the brain experiences a prolonged seizure, or a series of prolonged seizures without a full return to consciousness in between.
     
    Stenosis
    Also known as a stricture, is an abnormal narrowing in a blood vessel or other tubular or structure, such as the intestine.
     
    Struvite

    Also known as ammonium magnesium phosphate. Struvite can form stones in the urinary bladder.
     
    Subcutaneous
    Under the skin.
     
    Subluxation
    Refers to incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint.
     
    Syncope
    Is the sudden loss of consciousness, or fainting.
     
    Synovial Joint
    Is the most movable and widespread type of joint throughout the body. Examples include the knee, elbow and hip.
     
    Systemic
    Pertaining to or affecting the whole body rather than localised.
     
    Tachycardia
    Refers to a faster than normal resting heart rate.
     
    Tachypnoea
    Refers to a faster than normal resting respiratory, or breathing, rate.
     
    Tarsus
    The animal equivalent of an ankle. It is also known as the hock.
     
    Tartar
    A build-up of bacteria, saliva, and food on the teeth which becomes mineralised, forming a hard coating and eventually causing gum disease and possibly tooth loss.
     
    Temporomandibular Joint
    The joint where the lower jaw bone, or the mandible, meets the skull.
     
    Thrombocytopaenia
    The medical term that refers to a low or reduced platelet count.
     
    Tissue
    Is an organised group of cells, not necessarily identical, that together carry out a specific function.
     
    Titre
    Is a measure of concentration. Normally refers to the level of antibodies in blood to a particular antigen.
     
    Topical
    To be applied to external body surfaces such as the skin.
     
    Toxaemia
    A generic term for the presence of toxin in the blood.
     
    Tracheobronchitis
    Refers to inflammation of the trachea and bronchi.
     
    Tumour

    A tumour is an abnormal growth of body tissue. Tumours can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).
     
    Ulcer
    A defect of the skin, cornea or mucous membrane caused by the loss of damaged tissue.
     
    Ultrasound
    A technique used to produce an image of a deep structure within the body by directing ultrasound waves at it and recording the reflections (echoes) from it.
     
    Umbilicus
    Also known as the belly button. The umbilicus is where the umbilical cord attaches to the foetus during pregnancy.
     
    Urate
    Is a salt derived from uric acid.  Urate can form stones in the urinary bladder.
     
    Urea
    Is a compound which is essentially the waste produced when the body metabolises protein.
     
    Urinary Incontinence
    Is the loss of voluntary control of urination.
     
    Urinary Obstruction
    A term to describe one of many different conditions that disrupt normal urine flow from the body.
     
    Urticaria
    Also known as hives. Raised, itchy areas of skin that are usually a sign of an allergic reaction.
     
    Uveitis
    Refers to inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
     
    Vaccination
    The administration of a vaccine to stimulate immunity to a disease.
     
    Vaccine Failure
    A vaccine failure is when an animal develops a disease in spite of being vaccinated against it. There is usually nothing wrong with the vaccine, but for some reason, the animal's immune system did not adequately respond to it.

    Vasculitis
    Inflammation of blood vessels.
     
    Vasoconstriction
    Vasoconstriction is the narrowing (constriction) of blood vessels by muscles in their walls.
     
    Vasodilation
    Vasodilation is the widening (dilation) of blood vessels by the relaxation of the muscles in their walls.
     
    Vena Cava
    The cranial vena cava is the large vein which returns blood to the heart from the head, neck and both upper limbs. The caudal vena cava returns blood to the heart from the lower part of the body.
     
    Ventricle
    The large, muscular chambers of the heart that pump blood to the body or lungs.
     
    Vestibular System
    Is the system comprised of the inner ear, nerves and brain, that provides a sense of balance.
     
    Virus
    A small infectious agent that is unable to replicate outside a living animal cell.
     
    Volvulus
    Abnormal twisting of the intestines or stomach. This can be a life threatening condition due to the loss of blood supply and accumulation of toxic gases and fluids in the portion of the obstructed bowel segment.

    Whelping
    The act of a dog giving birth.
     
    White Blood Cells
    Are cells of the immune system involved in defending the body against both infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) and foreign materials.
     
    Window of Susceptibility

    A time period in the life of a young animal in which the maternal antibodies are too low to provide protection against a certain disease, but too high to allow a vaccine to work and produce immunity.

    X-ray
    High-energy electromagnetic radiation used to take radiographs.
     
    Zoonotic
    A term used to describe any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from animals to humans.