A sterile technique for the collection of fluid from the abdomen.



To move away from the median plane or axis of the body muscles and limbs.



To remove entirely, generally refers to removal through a surgical procedure(s).



The cup-shaped socket of the hip joint that receives the head of the femur.



Rapid onset, with severe and recognisable clinical signs.


Acute Kidney Failure in cats (ARF)

Serious and life-threatening, also known as Acute Renal Failure, refers to the sudden failure of the kidneys to perform normal filtration duties. ARF causes secondary accumulation of toxins and metabolic wastes in the blood, and dehydration. Generally diagnosed by blood and urine testing, and physical examination by your Veterinarian. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, and/or seizures. Some cats may have been urinating more frequently, others not at all.



Malignant tumour derived from glandular tissue, or in which the tumour cells form recognisable glandular structures. 



A benign tumour in which the cells form recognisable glandular structures.


Adrenal Gland

An endocrine gland located at the top of the kidneys, secreting adrenaline and steroid hormones.



Surgical removal of the adrenal gland.



Abdominal and Thoracic Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma, Triage & Tracking. Ultrasound performed in order to identify the presence of fluid in certain areas following trauma or acute onset illness and in order to direct and facilitate immediate patient stabilisation


Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)

Enzyme localised on cell membranes. The activity of this enzyme is increased in hepatobiliary disease, bone disease, in young animals and with steroid administration.



Deficiency of the hair or wool coat may be caused by failure to grow, or by loss after growth.



Removal of; (limb, digit, claw, etc.)



A reduction below normal in the number or volume of erythrocytes or in the quantity of haemoglobin in the blood.



Loss of feeling or sensation. Local anaesthesia is sensation loss localised to a specific part of the body, while general anaesthesia is the loss of sensation over the whole body during unconsciousness of the brain induced by the anaesthetic drug.


Anal Gland Rupture

Infection within the anal sac causing swelling and discomfort, acute pain which if left untreated, may rupture.



Reduced sensibility to pain (Pain relief).


Anaphylactic Shock

Acute onset of unusual or exaggerated allergic reaction of an animal to a foreign protein or other substance(s). Acute onset hypersensitivity reactions can be life-threatening, involving one or more organ systems. Signs can vary with the route of exposure, and the pet’s immune response. Common signs include itching, swollen face, vomiting and diarrhoea, hypersalivation (drooling), airway swelling and breathing difficulties. Seek immediate Veterinary advice.  



Drug administered to reduce nausea, and vomiting.


Arthritis (Osteo)

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. Osteoarthritis commonly occurs in the knees, shoulders, elbows and hips, and is a degenerative condition whereby the cartilage between joints breaks down, resulting in reduced mobility and discomfort. Treatment is usually multi-modal and may include weight and exercise management, diet change, analgesia (pain relief), adapting your pets home environment, and supplements as recommended by your veterinarian.



Used to describe those short-nosed, wide-headed breeds ('Flat- faced'). Brachy- shortened, cephalic- head. This is usually associated with a number of abnormalities of the upper respiratory tract and other bodies systems.


Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Condition of 'flat-faced' breeds in which the airways are restricted by narrow nares and nasal cavity, a long soft palate, a large tongue base and/or a narrowed trachea. Brachy- shortened, cephalic- head.



Slow heart rate.



A term used to describe a dog’s movement when both hindlegs are advanced together, often indicative of bilateral - hindlimb or spinal conditions.



An abnormal growth of tissue, neoplasia.


Canine Cough

A highly infectious, acute upper respiratory disease of dogs, commonly consisting of laryngitis, tracheitis and bronchitis. It may be caused by any one or a combination of several viruses, bacteria and mycoplasmas. The patient suffers inflammation of the airways, causing a harsh cough, and subsequent spread of the infection transmitted through the air. Assessment with a veterinarian is recommended. Vaccination (C5) is available for the predominant Canine Cough components in Australia.


Capillary Refill Time (CRT)

The time is taken for a mucosal surface which has been pressed by a finger pressure to return to a normal pink colour. The time is taken for the colour to return to the external capillary bed after pressure has been applied, for example using a thumb to apply pressure to your pet's gums, releasing and timing how many seconds the gums take to return to their normal colour.


Cat Bite Abscess (CBA)

Caused by penetration of tooth through the skin, trapping bacteria and causing infection below the skin resulting in pus-filled swelling and inflamed tissue- requires Veterinary attention.


Cat Flu

A mild to severe upper respiratory infection characterised by high morbidity, low mortality, fever, ocular and nasal discharges, sneezing, coughing and ulcerations of the tongue. Feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus are the most common causes, with infection with bacteria and myoplasm’s also occurring in some cases. The resulting inappetence and dehydration require veterinary attention. Vaccination against the predominant cat flu components are included in the core feline vaccinations.



The opacity of the eye lens, congenital or acquired.



Flexible tube introduced into the body for administering or withdrawing fluid. For example,  Intravenous catheters, and urethral catheters.


Cherry Eye

More common in dogs, though cats also susceptible, "Cherry Eye" is a term for eversion of the third eyelid due to swelling and prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. The third eyelid is often only seen as a small pink triangle-shaped aspect of the inner eye and plays an important role in the health, and vision, of the eye. Swelling, irritation and subsequent infection of the third eyelid should be assessed and treated by your preferred Veterinarian. Diagnosis will likely be confirmed by your veterinarian at the time of a physical examination, and your pet may require surgical correction of this condition.


Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)

Kidneys remove waste products from the bloodstream, conserve water, produce urine, and regulate the levels of minerals including sodium and potassium. CKD (CRF) is common in elderly pets, with a decline in the kidneys efficacy in filtering the blood of waste products. Approximately 2/3 of the kidneys must be dysfunctional before clinical signs are seen, including increased water intake and increased urine output. Kidney disease if often identified in pre-anaesthetic blood tests, and is able to be managed appropriately if early intervention occurs.



Inflammation of the bladder, may or may not be related to a specific underlying cause, see also Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)



A sterile collection of urine directly from the bladder through the insertion of a percutaneous needle through the abdominal wall and into the bladder.



The microscopic study of cells taken from superficial or internal samples of tissue.


Diabetes Mellitus

Occurs when the pancreas (a gland near the stomach) fails to produce adequate insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Cells require glucose to function, and without insulin, glucose may not be transferred into the cells from the bloodstream. In this case, the lack of insulin causes the body cells to starve, although the blood glucose levels may be high, without insulin, cells are not able to function appropriately. Your Veterinarian will likely provide you with key learning material, should your pet receive a diagnosis indicative of Diabetes Mellitus.



An acute viral disease of dogs caused by a morbillivirus that results in severe systemic illness. Vaccination against Distemper is included in the core canine vaccinations.


Elbow Dysplasia

A condition of the elbow of dogs, particularly large and giant breed dogs, where a complex of developmental abnormalities of the bones that make up the elbow joint result in lameness and later arthritis of the elbow.


Embedded Grass Seed

Occurs when the serrated awns of a grass seed head penetrate into the skin and body tissues. This typically results in a tracking infection or abscess.



The induction of vomiting. Your pet's veterinarian may induce emesis when your pet has ingested a foreign object, toxic substance, or other unintended material. Usually followed by the administration of an anti-emetic drug, to stop the vomiting.



Inversion, or turning inward, as of the margin of an eyelid. Results in irritation of the surface of the eye. Can be congenital or acquired.



Recurrent seizures presenting as involuntary muscle movement due to a temporary disturbance of normal brain function. Seizures may be idiopathic in origin with no identifiable cause, or, may be a result of lesions or injury of the brain, kidney or liver conditions, or ingestion of toxic substances. Your pet may appear nervous or confused and may show signs of salivating and shaking prior to a seizure. Seizures range in severity, from mild shaking, to complete loss of consciousness. Your pet may collapse, paddling legs in the air while appearing otherwise paralysed. Upon regaining consciousness, your pet may appear confused and disoriented for some time. Transport your pet to your chosen Veterinarian as soon as it is safe for both yourself and the pet, and practicable to do so. DO NOT attempt to open your pet's mouth at any time during the seizure. Your pet may be panicked or confused and/or have an involuntary jaw movement, resulting in an unintended bite injury to yourself. Treatment will depend on the severity of your pet's seizures, and your vet will provide you with appropriate learning material should treatment be required long term.


Ehylene Glycol (Antifreeze) Poisoning in dogs

The active ingredient in Antifreeze, a sweet tasting odourless liquid which pets may drink if spilt or leaked on to garage floors or driveways. Highly toxic- seek immediate Veterinary advice.


Everted Laryngeal Saccules

An abnormality of the larynx that is typically secondary to brachycephalic airway syndrome, and results in further narrowing of the airway lumen.


Ex-lap (exploratory laparotomy)

A surgical incision into the abdominal cavity for the purposes of physical examination of the contents of the abdominal cavity.


Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

The slow acting virus spread by a cat bite, most common in undersexed males who have a history of fighting over territory. FIV takes several years to begin showing clinical signs, including recurring fever and increased size of lymph glands. It results in a compromised immune system, leading to increased susceptibility to illness. However, with the appropriate veterinary care and an indoor lifestyle, most FIV Positive cats can live happy healthy lives. A screening test is available for FIV. Please keep in mind that your pet may produce a 'false positive' to the screening test if s/he has previously been vaccinated against FIV, so please mention any previous FIV vaccinations to your Vet. Your vet may recommend vaccination for FIV depending on your cat's lifestyle and the local prevalence of FIV.


Feline Panleukopaenia

A severe acute viral disease of cats caused by the feline parvovirus. The virus causes destruction of the rapidly dividing cells, particularly of the gastrointestinal tract and the bone marrow, resulting in severe clinical illness and a high fatality rate. The disease can be prevented by vaccination, and vaccination against Feline Panleukopenia is included in core Feline vaccinations.



A small, wingless, bloodsucking insect. Fleas can act as disease carriers and their bites can cause inflammatory skin lesions. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate year-round flea control for your pet.


Feline Calicivirus

Highly contagious component of Cat Flu, an upper respiratory infection, commonly presenting as the sneezing kitten or cat, with a congested nose and conjunctivitis or crusty eyes. Ulcers on the tongue, hard palate, gums, lips or nose may appear, leading to loss of appetite and dehydration, requiring immediate attention. Vaccination is available and is part of the core vaccine for cats in Australia.


Feline Chlamydiosis

Infection with Chlamydia spp. organisms, typically as a component of 'Cat Flu'; A mild to severe upper respiratory infection characterised by a fever, ocular and nasal discharges, sneezing, coughing and ulcerations of the tongue. Vaccination is available as part of the non-core Feline Vaccinations.


Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

In cats, a broad term used to describe diseases of the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra). Symptoms of FLUTD include difficulty urinating, straining to urinate in the litter tray with very little urine output, or bloody urine, urinating outside of the litter tray, cloudy urine with a strong smell, excessive grooming of the genital region and most importantly, a complete inability to pass urine- in which case seek immediate Veterinary attention.


Feline Parvovirus (Panleucopaenia)

A severe acute viral disease of cats caused by the feline parvovirus. The virus causes destruction of the rapidly dividing cells, particularly of the gastrointestinal tract and the bone marrow, resulting in severe clinical illness and a high fatality rate. The disease can be prevented by vaccination, and vaccination against Feline Panleukopenia is included in core Feline vaccinations.


Feline Herpesvirus (Viral Rhinotracheitis)

One of the components of 'Cat Flu'; A mild to severe upper respiratory infection characterised by a fever, ocular and nasal discharges, sneezing, coughing and ulcerations of the tongue. Feline herpesvirus and feline caliciviral are the most common etiological agents, with infection with bacteria and myoplasm’s also occurring in some cases. The resulting loss of appetite and dehydration requires veterinary attention. Vaccination against the most common cat flu components is included in the core feline vaccinations. 


Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

A life-threatening condition, commonly seen in deep-chested, large breed dogs, though any breed may be affected. The early stages of GDV include the stomach filling with gas (GD), causing the distended abdomen or "bloat", then progressing to volvulus (V) when the gas-filled stomach twists upon itself, blocking the entry and exit. Seek immediate veterinary attention.



Inflammation of the lining of the stomach and the intestines. Generally, presents as vomiting and diarrhoea.



A genus of parasite found in the intestines of most animals. They are capable of causing prolonged, intermittent diarrhoea with occasionally more severe gastrointestinal signs. Rarely can migrate to other tissues in the body resulting in clinical signs depending on the organ system affected.



The common name for Dirofilaria immitis infection, a parasitic infection that results in the growth of worms in the pulmonary arteries. Most commonly reported in dogs, but occasionally occurs in cats. Your veterinarian will recommend the appropriate heartworm prevention for your pet.


Heat Stroke

A clinical syndrome of Multiple organ dysfunction caused by the elevation of body temperature above physiologically acceptable levels. This may be due to one or a combination of the production of excessive heat, exposure to excessive ambient temperatures, or failure to lose heat. Heat stroke is life-threatening. Clinical signs include heavy panting, followed by progressive dullness as other organ systems become involved. If you are concerned that your pet may be suffering heat stroke, begin immediate cooling with running water avoiding the head and neck and contact your veterinarian.



The abnormal protrusion of part of an organ or tissue through structures normally containing it. A hernia may develop in various parts of the body, most commonly in the region of the abdomen.


Hip Dysplasia

A condition of the hip joint(s) of dogs, particularly large and giant breed dogs, where a complex of developmental abnormalities of the bones that make up the hip joint result in lameness and later arthritis of the hip.


Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushings)

Disease caused by hyperactivity of the adrenal cortices (steroid producing). It can be due to a problem with the adrenal gland or with the Pituitary gland in the brain. It may also be induced by the administration of steroid medication.



The overproduction of thyroid hormone, resulting in an increased metabolic rate, with secondary weight loss despite a largely increased appetite. The pet may appear excessively hungry and thirsty, with increased urine output. Diagnosis may be made incorporating your pet's history, current symptoms and blood tests.


Hypoadrenocorticism (Addisons)

Disease caused by the reduced production of hormones from the Adrenal gland. The signs of hypoadrenocorticism vary with the extent of reduced hormone production. The critical failure of the hormonal secretion is termed an Addisonian crisis. This may present as collapse and vomiting and requires immediate Veterinary attention.       



Reduced functional activity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is responsible for the production of hormones essential for growth and metabolism. Reduced thyroid hormones can affect many body systems. Often weight gain and lethargy will be noticed. 


Hypoxia / Hypoxemia

Inadequate availability of oxygen to the body tissues (Hypoxia) and in the blood (Hypoxemia); pet may present as having cyanotic (blueish) coloured gums, with a poor capillary refill time- pet may appear restless or nervous, followed by a collapse- seek immediate Veterinary advice.


Immune Mediated Blood Disease

A condition where the immune response of the body is inappropriately directed to the body's own cells. In the case of immune-mediated blood disease, the inappropriate reaction is directed towards red cells, platelets, other white blood cells or bone marrow.


Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anaemia (IMHA)

A condition where the immune response of the body is inappropriately directed to the body's own red blood cells.


Ingestion of a foreign object

Large or irregularly shaped objects may get stuck in the through or in the digestive system and result in your dog needing emergency veterinary attention. Common objects noticed to be ingested are socks, toys, sticks, bones, string, balls, fruit pips. However, there are many smaller shaper objects that cause damage to internal organs such as splinters. 


Intestinal Worms

There are several types of common intestinal worms in cats and dogs in Australia, including roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. Regular prophylaxis is recommended for all pets, and your veterinarian will recommend a worming product and program most appropriate for your pet. In general, worming is recommended for cats and dogs at least every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age until 12 weeks, monthly from 3 to 6 months and every 3 months for life.


Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral discs are located between the vertebrae (bones of the spine), acting as shock absorbers during movement. IVDD occurs when the discs between these vertebrae begin to degenerate; a disc bulges (protrudes) or herniates (bursts), causing compression of the neurological tissue at the site. IVDD results in pain and neurological deficits that can range in severity from dragging paws or inability to place paws correctly, to complete paralysis. IVDD requires urgent veterinary attention and investigation typically involves examination and further advanced diagnostic imaging. Treatment for IVDD can vary depending on the patient. Surgery is typically performed by specialist veterinary surgeons.


IV fluids

When a pet has a deficit of intravascular fluid or an abnormality in electrolytes that is not able to be easily addressed through the consumption of oral fluids, treatment may consist of sterile fluid administered directly into the vein through an intravenous catheter.


Otitis Externa & Otitis Interna

Otitis externa is inflammation of the external ear canal, odour and discharge from the ear, swelling and redness of the external ear canal and shaking of the head or pawing at the ear. Otitis media and otitis interna are inflammation of the deeper parts of the ear. Signs of otitis media and interna relate to disruptions to hearing, the sensitive balance organs or the nerves that run through this area. Otitis media and interna can result from extension of otitis externa, or from internal spread through the blood or extension of local disease processes.



Pancreatitis is a condition of inflammation of the pancreas that can range from mild to very severe and life-threatening. The pancreas has important endocrine (secretion of hormones; including insulin) and exocrine (secretion of digestive enzymes) functions.


Parvo Virus

Parvoviruses are severe acute viral diseases. Parvoviruses cause destruction of the rapidly dividing cells, particularly of the gastrointestinal tract and the bone marrow, resulting in severe illness and a high fatality rate. Parvoviruses are highly infectious and survive for a long time in the environment. Canine Parvovirus is often referred to as 'Parvovirus'. The Feline Parvovirus is often referred to as 'Feline Panleukopenia'. Lethargy, sudden onset diarrhoea (+/- blood) or vomiting is the most common signs. Vaccination against parvoviruses is critical and vaccination against canine and feline parvovirus respectively are included in the core dog and cat vaccinations.



Inflammation of the parenchyma of the lungs. It is often accompanied by inflammation of the airways and sometimes by the adjoining pleura (lining of the chest wall). Signs of pneumonia include an increase in the rate of respiration and alteration of the character of breathing, that can vary in severity, to life-threatening. Any pet with a change in breathing character should receive immediate veterinary attention.


Pre-anaesthetic blood profiles/testing

Pre-anaesthetic blood testing provides an insight into the level of function of a number of major body organs, vital to the wellness and post-operative recovery of your pet. Pre-anaesthetic blood tests also provide a good baseline reference point for healthy pets, for future use.



Raised temperature, fever.


Ringworm (Dermatophytosis)

Fungal infection of the skin. Ringworm fungi feed on keratin and will affect the hair follicles of cats and dogs, presenting as circular patches of missing fur (alopecia). Ringworm can be zoonotic (transferable from pets to people), usually through direct contact, so it is important to follow your pet's treatment directions as prescribed by your veterinarian.


Skin Tenting

An assessment of dehydration through skin elasticity. A veterinarian or nurse will lift the skin over the pet's shoulders, to see how quickly it returns to normal position. A delayed return to the normal position may be indicative of dehydration.


Snake Bite

The outcome of a snake bite can vary widely depending on the type of snake and the location in Australia.  Snake venom can include toxicants to the neurological system, the coagulation system and the muscles. Other organ systems can also be affected due to downstream effects of the toxins. Time to onset of signs can vary depending on the snake, and pets can have a period of appearing normal following an envenomation. Snake envenomation is usually life-threatening. If a snake bite is suspected, this should be regarded as an emergency, and urgent veterinary attention is needed. To reduce the risk of danger to yourself, it is recommended to avoid touching the snake. Call ahead to your nearest veterinary clinic to ensure that appropriate antivenom is in stock- if they are not able to assist, they will likely direct you to the nearest clinic able to facilitate the administration of antivenom. Remember, Australian snakes are protected by law, do not attempt to catch or kill the snake you may expose yourself to unnecessary danger.



Degenerative condition of the spine whereby the vertebral bones begin to show bony spurs (osteophytes) along their edges.


Stenotic Nares

Abnormally narrowed nostrils, often restricting oxygen intake; common in Brachycephalic breeds (see Brachycephalic).



Increased heart rate.


Thrombocytopaenia (low platelet count)

A decrease in the number of platelets within the blood, required to facilitate clotting. Low platelet count may leave the patient susceptible to spontaneous bleeding or bruising.


Thromboembolic Disease

The abnormal formation of blood clots. The form of the disease depends on the location of the thromboembolism (blood clot).


Tick Paralysis

Ticks are blood-sucking arachnid parasites. Tick paralysis is caused by Ixodes spp ticks and is most common along the East Coast of Australia. The neurotoxin of the paralysis tick causes a progressive flaccid paralysis (a weakness that progresses to paralysis). Paralysis ticks are most prevalent in those bushy coastal areas and will attach to cats and dogs as hosts. Ticks can be difficult to visualise at times, and care must be taken to check the ears, eyelids, gums and anus, between toes and on the elbows. When the tick has attached itself to the host, it injects a small amount of saliva in the process. Paralysis Tick saliva is the toxin causing the disruption of the connection between nerves and muscles in the host's body; causing weakness and eventual paralysis, lack of gag-reflex (inability to swallow) and may compromise breathing. Time taken for the host to show symptoms of tick paralysis depends on the size or number of ticks attached, and Veterinary attention should be sought. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate Tick Prophylaxis for your pet. Owners living along the coastline should also perform regular 'tick checks' searching the pet thoroughly and may consider keeping their pet's fur at a short length.


Torn Nail

The breaking or tearing off of a nail can be very painful for a pet and there is a of risk infection if not treated appropriately. They can sometimes consist of persistent or excessive bleeding, swelling, licking or biting of the injury, or clear signs of pain. In many cases, veterinarians remove the remainder of the toenail under sedation


Triadan System

System of identification of teeth for the purpose of dental records in pets, each tooth has a three-digit number specifying the quadrant in which it sits, its position and whether it is a primary or permanent tooth.



Concurrent inflammatory bowel disease, chronic subclinical pancreatitis and cholangitis in cats.


Urinary Tract Infections, Diseases, and Obstructions

There are various problems that can arrive affecting the urinary system. Bacterial infections,  bladder stones or crystals in the urine, incontinence, trauma or even obstruction of the urethra, which is the tube that allows urine to pass from the bladder out of the body.   


Vestibular Disease

The vestibular system maintains balance, with central components located in the brain and peripheral components within the middle, and inner ear. Vestibular Disease typically presents as an alteration in balance, difficulty walking, irregular eye movements from side to side (nystagmus) and a head tilt. The investigation and treatment for Vestibular Disease depend on the underlying location (central or peripheral) and cause of the lesion.     


von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)

An inherited disorder affecting humans and dogs (not zoonotic in nature), characterised by a deficiency of the protein required by platelets to clump together, creating blood clots. Affected dogs may show no obvious symptoms, while others may bleed profusely from the nose, vagina, bladder, or the gums.



A disease or infection is able to be transferred from animal to human. A disease or infection that is transferred from humans to animals is called a 'reverse zoonosis'.