Vet Terms: What Your Veterinarian is Talking About

Does your heart skip a beat or two when you hear your vet refer to your pet using unfamiliar and unnerving words? Learn what some of these more common terms mean so going to the pet hospital with your pet is less stressful for both of you.

“Your dog (or cat) has otitis externa or otitis interna

Your pet either has a middle/inner ear infection (otitis interna) or is suffering inflammation of the external ear canal (otitis externa). Symptoms of otitis interna include frequent head shaking, greenish discharge from the ear (may be tinged with blood) and deliberate pawing/scratching at the ear. Symptoms of otitis externa are similar to symptoms of otitis interna but do no include discharge. In addition, your pet may flinch if you touch his ear and the ear may have a foul smell.

Treatment for both outer and inner ear infections involves antibiotics and regular pet grooming.

“Your pet is suffering gastroenteritis. He needs his blood electrolytes balanced and rehydrated”.

If you brought your dog or cat to the animal hospital because of vomiting and diarrhea, the veterinarian may diagnose him with gastroenteritis. Attributed to viral, bacterial or parasitical infections, gastroenteritis causes rapid dehydration if the animal isn’t treated with appropriate medications. In addition, a dog or cat suffering gastroenteritis may run a low-grade fever, avoid food and sleep much more than usual.

“We will give your pet local anesthesia before performing a biospy, removing a small skin growth, stitching a small wound, etc.”

When veterinarians gives animals local anesthesia, they will inject a specific amount of a numbing agent directly into the area needing treatment. Pets given local anesthesia remain awake during a procedure. On the other hand, pets needing major surgery are given general anesthesia  to put them to sleep.

“Your dog has hypothyroidism” or “Your cat has hyperthyroidism“.

Hypothyroidism is a common disease affecting all breeds of dogs but especially targets cocker spaniels, dachshunds, retrievers, setters and Dobermans. If you’ve brought your dog to our pet hospital because he is losing his hair, has flaky skin, appears to be gaining weight for no reason and seems lethargic, he may have hypothyroidism. When blood tests determine your dog’s thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormones, your veterinarian will prescribe a synthetic hormone call L-thyroxine that restores normal thyroid functioning.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a common endocrine disorder affecting cats, especially cat over ten years old, that increases their appetite but causes weight loss. Cats with hyperthyroidism also drink and urinate more, may vomit and have diarrhea and present skin, nail and coat abnormalities. Restlessness, nighttime meowing/yowling and noticeable behavioral changes are other symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

If diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, your cat can take a medication called TapazoleTM to suppress an overactive thyroid or undergo radioactive iodine therapy. In some cases, the veterinarian may need to remove the thyroid gland if overactivity is caused by a benign tumor.

For more information about veterinary medical terms and procedures as well as services we provide, call our animal hospital today at (212) 288-8884.

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