Abscess (ab-ses): A localized accumulation of pus that forms under the skin, as may occur following a fight between cats because the bacteria from their mouths and claws infect the wounds

Acute (uh-kyoot): A problem with a sudden and generally severe onset, as may be seen with messy and dangerous diarrhea in kittens

Adspection (ad-spek-shuhn): A diagnostic method consisting of thorough observation, typically of an animal, for example, when watching a limping cat walk before feeling (palpation) the affected limb

Aerobic (ayr-oh-bik): Requiring oxygen, as in Pasturella multocida, a common bacteria of the oral cavity of cats

Agenesis (ey-jen-uh-sis): The lack of specific cells within an organ or the complete absence of an organ, which may occur with atresia ani

Allergen (al-er-juhn): A foreign protein that the immune system tries to remove

Alopecia (al-uh-pee-shee-uh): A condition of hair loss resulting in either patches of baldness or complete baldness, as may be caused by ectoparasites

Alveoli (al-vee-oh-ly): The air sacs at the end of the bronchioles (tiny branches of air tubes in the lungs) where the lungs and the blood exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide during breathing

Anaphylaxis (an-uh-fuh-lak-sis): An acute allergic reaction to an antigen, for example to a vaccine or antibiotic

Anastomosis (uh-nas-tuh-moh-sis): A surgical procedure to join two body parts that are not currently connected,.which may be required for rectal prolapse

Anaerobic (an-uh-roh-bik): Not requiring oxygen, as in anaerobic bacteria normally living in the cat’s abdomen, vaginal canal, intestines and mouth but cause infection and tissue death when they invade tissues due to deep injuries, surgeries or internal infections

Anemia (uh-nee-mee-uh): A lower than normal level of red blood cells (also referred to as erythrocytes) carrying oxygen to the body.

Anisocoria (an-ahy-suh-kohr-ee-uh): A condition in which the pupils of the cat’s eyes are different sizes; in other words, one pupil is larger than the other, as may be seen in Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Antibody (an-ti-bod-ee): A protein produced by the body’s immune system when it detects harmful substances, called antigens

Ankyloblepharon (anki-loh-blef-er-on): The partial or complete adhesion of the edges of the upper eyelid with the lower eyelid

Antigen (an-ti-juhn): A substance that triggers the production of an antibody

Anorexia (an-uh-rek-see-uh): Loss of appetite, whatever the cause

Anurous (uh-noor-uhs): Without a tail, as in the Manx breed

Apnea (ap-nee-uh): A disorder causing breathing to briefly stop, as in sleep apnea which occurs in overweight and brachycephalic breeds and may causing snoring, gasping or choking

Arrhythmia (uh-rith-mee-uh): An irregular heartbeat caused by delay or blockage of the electrical signals that tell the heart to contract and pump blood·

Arthritis A chronic, painful, progressive condition, also known as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis) is a involving the joints of cats, which likely affects 70-90% of cats over 12 years old

Ascites (uh-sahy-teez): An accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, as may be seen with Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Aspirate (as-puh-reyt): To draw in or out using a sucking motion. Aspiration can also mean breathing in a foreign object (such as inhaling food into the airway).

Asthma (az-muh): A disease of the lower airways of the lungs affecting 1-5% of cats most likely caused by an allergic reaction to inhaled allergens that stimulate the immune system

Ataxia (uh-tak-see-uh): A lack of muscle coordination, usually resulting in an abnormal or staggered gait, as may be seen with cerebellar hypoplasia

Atelectasis (at-uh-lek-tuh-sis): A complete or partial collapse of the entire lung or area of the lung, which is caused by compression of alveoli (air sacs) and may be seen with Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Atresia ani (uh-tree-zhee-uh ah-nee): A congenital malformation resulting in the lack of a patent anus due to the failure to rupturing of the dorsal membrane, which separates the rectum and anus

Auscultate (aw-skuhl-teyt): Auscultation is a method used to listen to the sounds of the body during a physical examination, usually with a stethoscope.

Aural (awr-uhl): Is defined as relating to the ear or the sense of hearing, as may be seen in an aural hematoma, a collection of blood, either fresh or clotted, within the pinna (ear flap)


Bacteriophage (bak-teer-ee-uh-feyj): A virus that parasitizes bacteria and can be helpful to overcome resistance to antibiotics, for example to treat feline Escherichia coli urinary tract infections.

Baculum (ba-kyuh-luhm): The bone in a cat’s penis

Barbering (bahr-ber-ing): The act of overgrooming, which leads to shorter hair or areas of baldness and skin inflammation caused by the tongue’s barbs (hooks called papillae)

Bartonella (baar-tuh-neh-luh): A flea- and tick-borne bacterial infection caused by Bartonella henselae, which is known as Cat Scratch Disease when it is transmitted to people through the scratch or bite of an infected cat

Blepharitis (blef-uh-rahy-tis): An inflammation of one or both eyelids, commonly seen in brachycephalic breeds, that may be caused by allergies, tumors and infections

Blepharospasm (blef-er-uh-spaz-uhm): The spasmodic squinting or blinking of the eyelid/s, as may be seen with cornel ulcers and Feline Herpesvirus Type-1

Borborygmus (bawr-buh-rig-muhs): The grumbling, gurgling sounds caused by gasses passing through the stomach and the intestine

Brachycephalic (brak-ee-suh-fal-ik): A shortening in length of the skull bones that gives the face and nose a pushed-in appearance, as seen in pedigreed cats such Persian and Himalayans

Bradycardia (brad-i-kahr-dee-uh): A heart rate below the normal range, which is 120-140 beats per minute for an adult cat and 200-260 for a kitten

Break: The indentation of a cat’s nose

Bronchitis (brong-kahy-tis): Feline chronic bronchitis is a disease involving inflammation and excessive secretions that plug the smaller airways that branch out from the trachea (windpipe) and impair the ability to bring oxygen into the lung’s alveoli for delivery to the rest of the body

Bunting (buhn-ting): The butting or rubbing of the head against other things, including people, which is a form or marking and affection

Buphthalmos (byoof-thal-muhs): a congenital, abnormal enlargement of the eyeball