Glossary of terms for pet insurance


Adrenal: small glands above the kidneys that produce hormones affecting the metabolism.

Alopecia: hair loss.

Anaemia: a condition in which the oxygen-carrying haemoglobin pigment levels are below normal in the blood. Signs include pale gums and listlessness.


    Bronchi: tiny air passages of the lungs that conduct air from the windpipe into the lungs and then into the blood stream.


      Cage: a self-contained pet cage with a wipe-clean base that can be used as a safe sleeping area for your puppy. Available through pet stores in various sizes to suit different size breeds. Can also be used to transport dogs safely in cars when travelling.

      Canine parainfluenza virus: causes flu-like symptoms and a high temperature of 30C/102F or more.

      Cat shampoo: don't use a human shampoo on your cat as it could irritate her skin. Look for a specific feline product instead.

      Cataract: the lens of the eye gradually becomes less transparent.

      Colitis: inflammation of the bowel.

      Conjunctivitis: a bacterial or viral eye infection that causes a sticky discharge and irritation.

      Cysts: blocked sebaceous glands on the skin's surface.


        Ecto-parasiticide: a strong insecticidal formula used for external parasites.

        Electro-magnetic: relating to the interrelation of electric currents or fields and magnetic fields.

        Elizabethan collar: a plastic cone-shaped ruff worn round the neck that prevents the cat nibbling or licking any part of their body or paws.

        Entire female: a cat that hasn't been spayed and is, therefore, capable of becoming pregnant and having kittens.


          Gingivitis: gum disease characterised by reddened or bleeding gums at the base of the teeth.


            Haemoglobin: cells that carry oxygen around the body.

            Haemorrhage: an internal bleed.

            Halti: a head collar for dogs that tend to pull on a normal lead and choke themselves.

            Harness: designed to fit around the dog's body and legs, attaching on the back, in between the shoulder-blades. Designed to stop a dog pulling harshly on his lead.

            Haunches: hind quarters/legs.

            Hock: the joint in a dog's hind leg between the knee and the fetlock, the angle of which points backwards.

            Hypersensitivities: extreme physical sensitivities to particular substances or conditions.

            Hypo-allergenic: relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.


              Infectious canine hepatitis: a liver disease that a dog can pass on in his urine for up to six months after being cured.

              Inguinal: affecting the groin.

              Insecticides: chemical substances used for killing insects.


                Ketones: substances made when the body breaks down fat or energy.

                Kong: a cone-shaped, hard rubber toy which has spaces to insert treats.


                  Larynx: voice box.

                  Leptospirosis: carried by rats and foxes and passed from dog to dog in infected urine.


                    Metaldehyde: a form of insecticide used to kill slugs.

                    Microchip: a tiny device that's injected in the scruff of the neck and holds personal information about the pet permanently.


                      Neutered: a cat or dog that's had an operation to make it sterile i.e. unable to make a female pregnant or to have kittens, if female.

                      Neutering: a routine operation to stop a dog or cat being able to make a female pregnant or to stop a bitch from ever conceiving puppies. Male dogs are castrated, that is, they have their testes removed while a bitch will have the uterus and ovaries removed.


                        Ophthalmic - concerned with the eye and treatment of the disorders that affect it.

                        Otitis externa - outer ear canal.

                        Over-bite - in a dog, the teeth should mesh together when the animal bites but if the upper or lower jaw juts out further, this is an under-bite or an over-bite.


                          Periodontal: concerning the structures that support the teeth.

                          Pharynx: throat.

                          Plaque: a rough, sticky coating on the teeth that consists of saliva, bacteria and food debris, usually found at the margins of teeth and gums.

                          Puppy crate: a self-contained pet cage with a wipe-clean base that can be used as a safe sleeping area for your puppy.


                            Rex: the coat has a thick velvety feel due to the structure of the hairs being bred differently.


                              Satin: the coat has a rich, satin sheen and is due to selective breeding changing the structure of the coat.


                                Tartar: a hard, crust-like deposit found on the crowns and roots of teeth, formed when mineral salts from saliva are deposited in existing plaque.

                                Toxoplasmosis: a parasitic infection in cats that can be passed on via their faeces if left unwormed.

                                Training pad: an absorbent, waterproof-backed sheet that can be laid on the floor for your dog to wee on and thrown away after use. Available through pet stores and some vets.


                                  Umbilical: the navel.

                                  Urethra: the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder.


                                    Warfarin: used as rat poison, causes massive internal bleeding.

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