Glossary of terms used on this site

This glossary is to help pet people understand the language that veterinarians may use when treating their pets.


There are 20 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition

Commonly known as “cat scratch disease”, it is transmitted by the bite or scratch of an infected cat, causing a sore or boil in the skin or lymph node.


This disease is transmitted to humans and animals by ticks, and it causes abnormalities in blood, such anemia.


It's what you think it is - the bodily waste discharged through the anus. Also called stools, or informally, poop.


Defined as Feline Leukemia Virus, this virus is transmitted through the saliva, feces, milk, and urine of an infected cat. Testing and vaccination recommended for all cats of all ages.


Giardia infection (giardiasis) is an intestinal infection caused by a microscopic waterborne parasite, marked by abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea and bouts of watery diarrhea.


 This worm lives in the heart and/or lungs of dogs and cats and is transmitted by mosquitoes. An adult worm can measure as long as 16 inches in length.



These are small parasitic worms that live in the intestines of dogs, and drink the dog's blood for their nutrition. Their name refers to the hooked mouthparts which fasten to the intestinal walls of the dog. Dogs develop anemia from the blood loss caused by hookworms.


This is the living animal or plant that a parasite lives in or upon, and obtains nutrition from. Usually used to define your pet, but may also include you and your family.

Lyme Disease

This is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia organisms. It is transmitted when an individual is bitten by the eastern and western black legged ticks (deer ticks). The disease may infect both humans and animals and if untreated may result in severe symptoms.



Organisms that live in or on another organism, known as the host. Parasites do not provide any benefit to the host, and usually will negatively affect the health of the host.


A preventative is a measure used to prevent disease, such as a drug, vaccine, and so on.


Ticks, mites or body lice can transmit infectious rickettsial organism through their bites.


These are the most common of the parasitic worms found in dogs and cats. Adult roundworms live in the intestines. Animals with major roundworm infections show weight loss, dull hair, and a potbellied appearance.


A type of parasitic worm that is flat and ribbon-like, that lives in the intestines of humans and animals.


Also known as roundworms