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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

The alignment of the teeth.


Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

Over Reaching

A Dog over reaches when during a trot the rear feet must be placed to the side of the front feet to avoid hitting the front feet. Over reaching is caused when rear angulation creates more drive than the drive and return of the front legs.

Overshot Bite

The upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw causing the upper incisors to overlap over the lower teeth so they do not touch the lower teeth at all. Sometimes called a parrot mouth. This is a disqualifying fault in the show ring.


A small tube that connects the ovary to the uterine horn. One from each ovary to each uterine horn. Also known as the fallopian tube.


Oxytocin is a naturally occuring hormone secreted from the hypothalamus gland in the brain to promote uterine contractions during whelping. There is also an FDA approved injection of the hormone that is used to induce labor in bitches, help expel the placenta and jump start milk release after whelping.


When you gait a dog, pacing occurs when the front and rear legs of the same side move in unison in the same direction. When the front leg is in the forward position, the rear leg of the same side will also be in the forward position at the same time.


(See Fenbendazole)

Pantothenic Acid

(See Vitamin B5)

Parathyroid Gland

Dogs have four parathyroid glands attached to the thyroid glands; two on each side of the neck. They produce parathyroid hormone which regulates the calcium level in the blood by releasing calcium from bone or adding calcium to bone. Electrical systems in the kidneys, muscle, brain and other organs rely on stable calcium levels to function properly. Signs of excessive calcium in the blood include listlessness, muscle weakness, increased thirst and urination, or difficulty urinating due to calcium deposits in the urine. Signs of low calcium levels include muscle twitching, trembling and seizures.


To give birth to offspring.


Canine parvovirus or CPV2 is a highly infectious disease spread between Dogs through contact with feces. It is often accompanied by coronavirus which is also transmitted in the same way. Because it is a virus, CPV2 does not respond to antibiotic therapy. There are 2 forms of CPV2; cardiac and intestinal. The cardiac infection is less common and affects very young puppies and even late term fetuses in the womb. The virus invades the heart causing labored breathing followed by a rapid death. Intestinal CPV2 is the more common infection and contracted through direct contact with feces, contaminated surfaces or infected soil. The most common symptoms are vomiting and severe diarrhea containing blood. It is devastating for young unvaccinated pups and most will die if left without medical intervention. Dehydration or secondary infection is usually the cause of death. As with coronavirus, cleanliness is the best preventative. Bleach water kill the virus on most surfaces.


The small bone in front of the stifle joint, like the knee cap in Humans. It moves up and down as the stifle straightens and bends.

Pectinate Ligament

Pectinate Ligament refers to a network of fibers at the iridiocorneal angle that is important to the drainage of aqueous humor from the anterior chamber of the eye. The correct pourous meshwork of fibers is formed during fetal development and so dysplasia of the ligament is congenital. (See aqueous humor, anterior chamber, iridiocorneal angle, IOP, glaucoma.)

Pectinate Ligament Dysplasia

Pectinate ligament dysplasia refers to the abnormal thickening of the strands that make up the pectinate ligament even to the point where they join together to form a solid sheet. Pectinate ligament dysplasia can inhibit the flow of aqueous humor from the anterior chamber of the eye and is one factor that can predispose a Dog to glaucoma. (See Pectinate Ligament, Iridiocorneal Angle, Gonioscopy, IOP, anterior chamber.)


A 2 layered sac that houses the heart.


Periosteum is a fibrous membrane that covers the entire bone to which ligaments and tendons are attached.


(See Avocado.)

Persistent Pupillary Membrane

The pupil of an unborn puppy is covered with the pupillary membrane which channels blood into the eye area to nourish the developing eye. Before birth, the membrane should completely disappear. Sometimes remaining strands can linger after birth, but they should disappear by the time the Pup is 4 to 6 weeks of age. If strands remain after this time, the Dog is said to have Persistent Pupillary Membrane or PPM and they are visible through a CERF exam. Persistence of the strands into adulthood is thought to have hereditary origin. The strands can be attached from one point on the iris to another point on the iris. These are designated on the CERF exam as "iris to iris" and usually do not present a problem. Strands that attach from iris to lens can cause small cataracts that can later affect vision. You will find these on the CERF report as "Iris to Lens." "Iris to cornea" strands are serious and can create problems for the Dog. These are listed as "Iris to Cornea." There are also "Iris Sheets" which are sheets of membrame in the front chamber of the eye that also create serious problems for the dog. If either "Iris sheets" and "Iris to Cornea" PPM's are presented, the Dog will not pass the CERF exam.


The physical expression and characteristic of an individual as a result of the genetic make-up of the traits.


The earflap; made of cartilidge and covered with hair.


Situated behind or being in a rear position.


Prednisone is a synthetic drug,in the group of drugs known as corticosteroids, that works by inhibiting the production of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. Natural corticosteroids, primarily cortisol and aldosterone, are produced by the adrenal glands. Prednisone is effective in the treatment of skin disorders from allergic reactions, or to ease inflammation from arthritis. In the short term to bring immediate relief from an acute allergic reaction; it is a wonder drug. Long term use however, has serious side effects including the atrophy of muscles, kidney disorders, pancreatic inflammation and diabetes. It also weakens the immune system which may help in certain autoimmune disorders, but also leaves the Dog more vulnerable to some fungal and bacterial infections.


Probiotics are live cultures of friendly bacteria that are considered beneficial in the intestines and help make nutrients more readily available for absorption through the intestinal wall. They also prevent the population of harmful bacteria, aid in the removal of toxins, help in digestion and actually produce some of the B Complex group of vitamins. Antibiotic therapy can wipe out healthy bacteria from the intestinal tract. Supplementing with high quality probiotics can restore the gut to proper function. Common bacteria in probiotics supplements include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifido bacterium bifidum, and lactobacillus bulgaricus. Ask your veterinarian about fortiflora.


A stage in the female reproductive cycle marked by the onset of a bloody vaginal discharge and the swelling of the vulva. Rising levels of estrogen cause the cells in the vagina to take on a characteristic shape known as cornification. Examination of cornified cells under a microscope confirm Proestrus.


This hormone is secreted by the corpus luteum and later by the placenta. Increased levels of progesterone prepare the uterine walls for the implantation of the fertilized eggs as well as maintaining the pregnancy. Progesterone also promotes the development of the mammary glands. Monitoring serum progesterone levels during the "Heat" Cycle help indicate ovulation and plan optimal breeding times.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Also known as PRA, it is a genetic eye disease in which the degeneration of the retina, which acts as the image sensor in the back of the eye, leads to vision loss and in many cases to blindness. It is diagnosed as either General PRA (GPRA) or Central PRA (CPRA). GPRA can occur early in the life of a puppy from the malformation of retinal cells, or develop later in life, around 3-6 years of age from the degeneration of functioning cells. In either case there is an increasing loss of vision in both eyes. The first sign of PRA is night blindness. CPRA affects older dogs and has been associated with a deficiency in vitamin E. It works differently in that only the superficial layer of the retina breaks down slowly and not all cases lose their vision.

Prostate Gland

The prostate gland produces fluid that is added to the ejaculate to feed the sperm cells and help their movement into the vagina, through the cervix and uterus. Prostatic fluid also has antiseptic properties that defend the sperm from possible infection from the female reproductive tract. Like humans, Dogs can suffer from an enlarged prostate, though it is rarely cancerous. An enlarged prostate however, can be very painful and affect urination and defecation, as well as rear movement as the Dog tries to relieve the pressure from the enlarged gland.


The tip of the bone at the front of the chest to which the ribs are attached

Puerperal Tetany

(See Eclampsia.)

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