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A list of words, phrases and terms... all related to dogs.

There are 288 entries in the dog dictionary.
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Term Definition
Left Atrium

The Left Atrium is the upper left chamber of the heart that collects blood as it returns from the lungs. When it contracts, blood flows through the mitral valve to the left ventricle.

Left Ventricle

The lower left chamber of the heart that is responsible for pumping the oxygenated blood through the aortic valve to the aorta and subsequently to the rest of the body.


Leishmaniasis is a protozoan infection spread by a species of sandfly that injects the protozoans while feeding on a victim. Humans as well as Dogs are subject to infection. The disease progresses very slowly and can take many years before symptoms become apparent. These include weakness, lethargy, intolerance to activity, loss of appetite, weight loss, and chronic diarrhea. These symptoms may apply to other infectious diseases, but 90% of Dogs will develop dry lesions that lose hair beginning on the muzzle, forehead, earflaps, paws and footpads and then move to other parts of the body. Leishmaniasis is very difficult to treat in Dogs.


A bacterial infection primarily attacking the kidneys and liver. Leptospirosis is spread when a dog comes into contact with the urine of an infected animal either by licking the urine from a surface directly or by drinking contaminated water from a ditch or puddle,heavily used pasture, or stagnant water. Common carriers of the disease include cattle, deer, rabbits and raccoons. Symptoms include dark urine, yellowing of the eyes and vomiting.The vaccine is more volatile than others, meaning it can result in more side effects and allergic reactions. Vaccines against bacterial infections are shorter lived in general and need to be administered more frequently to protect the dog.Not all strains of Leptospirosis are covered by current vaccines. Question your veterinarian if a Leptospirosis vaccine is needed in your area and for your situation. If infected, EARLY treatment with antibiotics is effective in knocking down the bacteria and shortening the bout with the disease. Advanced cases may require intensive therapy to treat kidney function and liver disease.

Level Bite

When the upper and lower jaws are closed, the edges of the upper and lower incisors touch evenly without any overlap. This is considered acceptable by many but is not correct.


Fibrous tissue made from collagen that connects one bone to another bone.

Luteal Hormone

Commonly abbreviated as LH, Luteal Hormone is found in small quantity in the bloodstream of a Bitch. During Estrus however, the Pituitary Gland secretes LH. The surge in LH initiates ovulation.


Lutein is in the group of compounds known as cartenoids which provide pigment to plants and help protect them from damage during periods of excessive sunlight. Animals use Lutein as an antioxidant, and it accumulates in the retina, where in much the same way it protects the eye from strong sunlight. Lutein is found in large amounts in green leafy vegetables especially kale and also in eggs where it gives the yolk its bright yellow color. Studies have shown that lutein and another cartenoid, zeaxanthin, which also accumulates in the retina, help reduce the risk of macular degeneration as well as limited the growth of age related cataracts. Freeze dried organic kale powder added to your Dog's meal is a great way to supplement your Dog's diet with Lutein and zeaxanthin. (See cartenoids, zeaxanthin, macula.)

Lyme Disease

An infection caused by a bite from a tick that carries the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. The tick must feed on the dog for some hours before transfer of the Spirochete begins. Many dogs do not develop symptoms and are diagnosed through routine blood screening. Dogs that do develop symptoms may have joint pain, alternating lameness from limb to limb, lethargy and/or a stiff gait. The immune system may produce large amounts of antibodies to combat the infection which must be filtered through the kidneys and over time may disintigrate their cleansing performance.Routine urine tests are suggested to detect early signs of kidney failure. Antibiotic therapy is used to fight infection in both asymptomatic dogs and affected dogs. Although the bacteria is never fully eliminated from the body it is usually knocked down to a manageable level in most dogs. (See Borrelia burgdorferi and Quantitative C6 test.)

Lyme Nephritis

Even with antibiotic treatment Borrelia burgorferi is never fully eradicated from the body. The continual presence of the Lyme bacteria can cause some dogs to be constantly producing antibodies to defend itself against the invading spirochete. Antibodies must be filtered through the kidneys and can over time deposit in the kidneys destroying the filtering capability. Dogs that have tested positive for Lyme should have urine analyzed on a regular basis for protein loss. Late detection of kidney involvement in Lyme disease can prove fatal.


Lymphocytes are white blood cells in the immune system that help the body fight infection and disease. The 2 main types of lymphocytes are B-cells and T-cells. B-cells are responsible for the production of antibodies that attack foreign invaders directly. T-cells attack the body's own cells that have been infected by a virus or cancer. Over the course of time, B and T cells leave behind cells for each specific antigen battled. These "memory cells" enable the Dog to jump start a quick response if the same invader is encountered again.


Lymphoma is one of the most common forms of cancer occuring in Dogs. Affected animals are mostly genetically predisposed to the disease, although there is evidence that exposure to herbicides and pesticides increases the risk of contracting the disease. In lymphoma, white blood cells are somehow altered, and begin to multiply improperly. The body fails to recognize the cells as pathogens and the cells continue to grow unchecked. Tumors can be found on the lymph nodes at the armpits, at the throat under the jaw, in the groin and in the lower back legs behind the stifle. Internal tumors affect the liver, spleen, or gastrointestinal tract. (See lymphocytes.)


Lysine is one of the ten essential amino acids that Dogs must ingest from their diet. It is important in the production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies as well as fundamental in the building of muscle tissue and the utilization of calcium.

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