Diestrus (also Diestrous): The stage of the estrus cycle which occurs after the animal goes out of heat
(Canine) Distemper: A viral disease that caused a severe and often fatal systemic illness in dogs and their close relatives. Distemper is also fatal in animals such as raccoons, and mustelids including skunks, mink and ferrets.
Domestic Animal: An animal that has been housed and fed by man for generations and has little fear of man as a result. Some domestic animals learn to depend on human provision so completely that they have little ability to survive if returned to a natural habitat.
Dystocia: Difficult birth.
Heartworm: A species of parasitic worm that lives and reproduces in the chambers of the heart of an animal. Microscopic, immature worms (microfilariae) circulate in the blood and are taken in by mosquitoes that bite the animal. Microfilariae mature in the mouthparts of the mosquito and infect another susceptible animal bitten by the same mosquito.
Hepatitis: An inflammation or infection of the liver.
High titer vaccine: A modified live vaccine that contains a higher number of virus particles than the 'average' vaccine. High titer vaccines can generally elicit an immune system response in young animals who have a maternal antibody level that would prevent them from responding to an 'average' vaccine.
Lactating: Producing milk.
Mammary: Pertaining to the breast.
Neuter: Sterilization by surgical removal of the testicles of a male animal.
Ovulate: The release of an egg from the ovary of the female.
Palpation: To examine with the hands or fingers.
Prolactin: Hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates the growth of mammary tissue and the production of milk.
Pulmonary edema: Fluid accumulation in the lungs
Pyometra: An infection of the uterus.
Rabies: A fatal virus disease of warm blooded animals including man, that affects the brain and is spread in the saliva of infected animals. Rabid animals have a temperament change. Wild creatures become bold enough to attack human beings, and docile domestic animals may turn on their owners.
Resorption: In pregnancy, a condition in which the fetus dies, and instead of being aborted, the fetal tissue dissolves within the uterus and is absorbed by the mother. The mother will show no outward signs of a fetal resorption.
Sphincter: A ringlike band of muscle that constricts a passage or closes an opening, e.g., the anal sphincter constricts to close the anus and relaxes when the animal is passing stool. The urethral sphincter closes the urinary bladder.
Subcutaneous:Under the skin; often called 'sub Q' vaccine
Titer: A measurement of the amount of antibodies in the blood. The test to measure antibodies is usually performed by making a number of dilutions of the blood and then measuring at what dilution there is sufficient antibody to react in the test. For example, a titer of 1:8 (one to eight) means the blood can be diluted to one part blood and seven parts saline and still produce a positive reaction in the test. The higher the titer (1:16 is higher than 1:8), the more antibody is present. (NOTE: The word 'titer' may also be used when discussing the amount of antigen present, e.g., a high titer vaccine has a large number of virus particles.)
Vaccine failure: A term often used to describe a condition in which an animal who was vaccinated against a disease still gets the disease. In truth, there is usually nothing wrong with the vaccine, but for some reason the animal's immune system did not adequately react to it.
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.