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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
Synovial fluid

Synovial fluid is a jelly like substance in a synovial joint that helps to lubricate it and minimize friction of the parts during movement. (The stifle and the elbow are examples of synovial joints.) It also oxygenates and delivers nutrients to the cartilage while cleansing and removing waste and carbon dioxide. There are studies linking immune responses to the health of synovial fluid in the stifle that may lead to joint arthritis and even cruciate ligament rupture.

Systole Phase

One of the 2 phases in the cycle of the heart where the ventricle chambers contract and pump blood to the arteries and to the body. Systolic heart murmurs occur when the ventricles contract and so are associated with ejecting blood.

Systolic Heart Murmur

Systolic heart murmurs occur when the ventricles contract. They can heard with close attention between the first and second beat. (See Blog article Canine Heart.)


Tapeworms are parasites that attach themselves to the lining of the small intestine and can grow several inches long. The ends of the tapeworm break off during a growing phase and appear in your dogs feces as little, white, rice like flecks. Dogs get tapeworms by chewing at themselves when trying to get at fleas. When they consume a flea that contains tapeworm eggs, the flea becomes digested, freeing the eggs to hatch and attach to the intestinal lining. Wormers are effective in removing tapeworms, but the flea infestation must be addressed to avoid re-infection.

Tea Tree Oil

An essential oil extracted from the plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, common throughout Australia. The main active chemical in tea tree oil is Terpinen-4-ol, which gives the oil its antiseptic, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Research has shown that it can be used to fight fungal infections between toes in both humans and Dogs as well as ringworm infections. It is effective fighting yeast infections and is a good antiseptic for minor cuts and abrasions.


Refers to a Dog's general demeanor and response toward life and its situations. Things like prey drive, shyness, fear level, confidence, dominance, aggressive behavior, or ease in socialization are all traits considered in temperament.


Fibrous tissue made from collagen that connects muscle to bone.


(See Vitamin B1)


Thimerosal is a preservative used in vaccines that contains mercury. It was introduced to allow the use of larger containers of vaccine with multiple dosages and so lower the cost of vaccines. There is no doubt that mercury is a poisonous toxin to both Dogs and humans; the question is how much mercury can a living organism tolerate before exhibiting deleterious side effects. Some veterinarians may tell you that the the amount of mercury in vaccines is so low that it will not affect the health of your dog. However, mercury accumulates in the body over time from many sources so why not eliminate mercury ingestion anywhere possible. Ask your veterinarian to administer thimerosal free vaccines.

Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, below the voice box, with a portion on either side of the wind pipe. Within each side-lobe there are 2 small glands called parathyroids. Together they regulate the Dog's metabolism and calcium levels by producing hormones; Thyroxine, (T4) and tri-iodothronine (T3). The amount of hormone produced by the thyroid gland is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH which is secreted by the pituitary gland. T4 and T3 hormones control the respiration of cells and stimulate all the tissues in the body to manufacture proteins. There are tests used to gauge the health of the thyroid gland by measuring the levels of T4, T3 and TSH hormones. If there are normal levels of the signal hormone TSH, but abnormal levels of T4 or T3, then there is a problem. A healthy thyroid analysis is a good practice for any Dog involved in a breeding program. (See Hypothyroid and parathyroid gland.)


Male Dogs, unlike human males, enter inside the vagina first, then the penis engorges with blood. The base enlarges and when the bitch's vagina contracts, the penis is locked inside. The two are "tied" together. The male will usually swing a leg over the bitch's back, turn around, and the two will stand rump to rump. Sometimes assistance facilitates the leg passing over the back. A tie can last from 5 to 20 minutes or even longer and during this time the male ejaculates. Afterwards, the blood leaves the penis and the male can separate from the female.If either dog is inexperienced, it is a good idea to stay close and make sure the dogs are calm and steady during the tie.


A blood test that measures the number of antibodies in a Dog's bloodstream specific to an antigen invader. A titer is measured separately for each disease. A distemper titer for example,will measure the antibodies that a Dog has generated in response to a previous distemper vaccination. It can be a guide to determine if another vaccination is necessary. There is increasing awareness that over vaccinating a Dog is unhealthy and may directly lead to certain diseases and cancers. There is also evidence that a low titer value does not necessarily mean that your Dog is not protected. It is always good to question your veterinarian on the validity of automatic vaccinations as part of a standard protocol for your Dog's "health."


Tocopherols are a group of compounds referred to on dog food labels as mixed tocopherols and include alpha, beta, delpha and gamma tocopherols. Although alpha-tocopherol provides the most available and stable vitamin E component, they must all be combined to provide all the essential parts of the Vitamin E group. Vitamin E is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and is very effective in treating various skin disorders. Vegetable oils are the main source of naturally occuring tocopherols.


Measures the pressure within the eye. Normal pressure is between 10 and 20 mmhg. (See aqueous humor, IOP, Glaucoma)


The profile line formed from the withers down the back to the tail.


TPLO is short for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. The cruciate ligament is designed to prevent slippage of the femur on the tibia. A torn cruciate ligament destablizes the stifle joint causing lameness and osteoarthritis.TPLO is surgery where the top of the tibia is cut in an arch through the bone then rotated along the cut curve and fastened to its new position on the tibia with a patented plate and screws. The new level joint in the stifle stablizes the knee and dogs return to normal function. TPLO is major surgery and extended care and rehab is essential to return the patient to maximum performance.


A pain reliever often suggested after surgery. Requires a prescription from a veterinarian.


Trichiasis occurs when the eyelashes grow in the wrong direction toward the inner lining of the eye or toward the cornea. It is easily identified during a CERF exam. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and solutions include, eye ointments, wetting drops or surgical repair.

Tricuspid Valve

The tricuspid valve is located between the right atrium and the right ventricle. When the right atrium contracts, blood is pushed through the valve into the right ventricle. It has 3 flaps which prevent the blood from seeping back into the right atrium.


A drug used in the treatment of Cushings Disease. The brand name is Vetoryl. It works by affecting the adrenal glands and stopping the production of cortisol. It should not be administered to a pregnant or nursing Dog or a Dog with a compromised kidney or liver. It is important to note that Trilostane was removed from the market for human use.


(See Femoral Groove)


A dog that is "Typey" or has Type is a one that is closely reflective of the breed standard.

Undershot Bite

The bottom jaw is longer than the upper jaw so that the bottom incisors overlap the upper teeth. A few breeds have naturally occuring undershot bites, but for all other breeds this is a disqualifying trait in the show ring.


Unlike the uterus of a human, which is pear shaped, the uterus of a Dog is "Y" shaped with the arms of the "Y" being porportionally longer than the base. The 2 arms are called uterine horns and extend from the top of the base to the ovaries. Small tubes, called oviducts, connect the ovaries to the tops of the uterine horns. The eggs travel from the ovaries, through the oviducts and after fertilization, attach to the lining of the uterine horns where they develop. The uterus is separated from the vagina by the cervix. (See Cervix.)


Veins return blood from the cells from all parts of the body to the heart.Arteries move blood in the direction from the heart to all parts of the body.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is derived mainly from carotene found in plants, but is also present in liver, fish liver oils, and dairy products. Dogs can easily convert carotene into usable vitamin A in the intestines. A is one of the fat soluble vitamins meaning it is stored in the fat cells of the body primarily in the liver. Therefore over supplementing with fish liver oils or feeding diets rich in liver can lead to toxicity, although it is rare. Deficiencies in A however are more common and can lead to night blindness,ovulation problems in females, sterility in males, inferior skin and coat and delayed growth. Insufficient amounts of A in pregnant bitches has been linked to cleft palates in their offspring. Newborns cannot store Vitamin A, but colostrum is very rich in A and there after it is important for healthy development during the growth period.

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B Complex is a group of water soluble vitamins that work together and are important for muscle function, brain and nervous system development and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamins in the B Complex group include Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin, Panthotenic Acid, Pyridoxine (B6), Folic Acid (B9), Vitamin B12, and Biotin. B vitamins are not stored in the body therefore it is important that adequate amounts are supplied in the daily diet.

Vitamin B1

Also known as Thiamine, Vitamin B1 helps break down sugars in the body to produce energy and so plays an important role in muscle function. Deficiencies can lead to poor muscle performance exhibited by lack of reflexes and general weakness.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the water soluble vitamins in the B complex group found primarily in meat; especially internal organs and is essential for the development of the nervous system and the production of red blood cells. Dogs deficient in B12 can develop anemia, lethargy, and loss of appetite leading to anorexia. Blood screening is required to verify low levels of B12. It is also known as Cobalamin.

Vitamin B2

Also known as Riboflavin, B2 is important in the production of red blood cells, growth of bones and muscle, and healthy skin and coat. Deficiencies in riboflavin are rarely seen as it is present in a wide variety of foods, but dogs deficient in B12 would exhibit retarded growth and deteriorating skin and coat condition. Riboflavin is found in leafy greens, dairy products, eggs and meats.

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