Vet Terminology starting with P on Bruning.com - from Packed cell volume to Pyometra


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Packed cell volume (PCV), hematocrit - A laboratory test to monitor the relative number of red blood cells present in the blood. A blood sample is placed in a tiny glass tube and spun in a centrifuge. The cells are heavier than the plasma and are compacted at one end of the tube. After the tube is spun, it is examined and the packed cell volume is determined as the percentage of the red cellular portion relative to the total amount of blood in the tube (i.e., remainder being the plasma). The normal for dogs is 40-59 and cats is 29-50.

Palatable - Tasty; refers to food that is readily accepted.

Palpation - To examine with the hands or fingers.

Pancreatitis - Inflammation of the pancreas, a severe and sometimes life threatening disease often associated with eating fatty foods. Symptoms include vomiting and a painful abdomen.

Pancytopenia - a shortage of all types of blood cells, including red and white blood cells as well as platelets.

Pannus - A chronic condition of the eye in which blood vessels grow across the cornea (the clear surface of the eye). The cornea looks hazy and sometimes reddened; it may eventually take on a dark pigment. This condition is also called chronic superficial keratitis.

Papule - Solid bump on the skin, less than 1/3 inch in diameter.

Paralysis - Loss of motor function (movement) in a certain part of the body. Paralysis may be flaccid, in which muscles are weak and have little or no tone; or spastic, in which the muscles are tight.

Parasiticide - Medication formulated to kill parasites.

Parasympathetic - The portion of the nervous system which stimulates the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes and stimulates many of the smooth muscles in the body including those of the stomach and intestine. It also tends to slow the heart rate.

Parenterally - A term used to describe the administration of a drug by means other than by mouth.

Paresis - Slight or incomplete paralysis.

Parthenogenesis - A form of reproduction in which the egg develops into a new individual without fertilization by sperm. Parthenogenesis has been observed in many lower animals, including some snails and insects.

Parturition - The act of giving birth.

Passive immunity - Immunity produced by providing an animal with antibodies or immunologic cells from another source, such as colostrum. Compare with 'active immunity.'

Pathogenic - Causing disease.

Pathologist - A specialist in veterinary medicine who examines the changes in body tissues and organs caused by disease.

PCV - Packed cell volume. PCV, hematocrit: A laboratory test to monitor the relative number of red blood cells present in the blood. A blood sample is placed in a tiny glass tube and spun in a centrifuge. The cells are heavier than the plasma and are compacted at one end of the tube. After the tube is spun, it is examined and the packed cell volume is determined as the percentage of the red cellular portion relative to the total amount of blood in the tube (i.e., remainder being the plasma). The normal for dogs is 40-59 and cats is 29-50.

Pediculosis - An infestation of lice.

Penicillinase - An enzyme produced by some bacteria which inactivates certain types of penicillin thus making the bacteria resistant to them.

Perianal fistula - A deep infection around the anus which often results in ulcers and deep draining tracts, most commonly seen in German Shepherds.

Perineal - The area between the anus and the genital organs.

Peritoneal dialysis - A process used to remove waste products from the body. Electrolyte fluids are administered into the abdomen, waste products of the body enter the fluids, and then the fluids are removed.

Peritoneum - The membrane lining the wall of the abdominal cavity.

Peritonitis - Inflammation of the lining of the abdomen.

Petechia - A small red or purple spot on the body, caused by a minor hemorrhage (broken capillary blood vessels). Forceful coughing or vomiting can cause facial petechiae, especially around the eyes. Newborns often have facial petechiae from the tight squeeze through the cervix. Thus petechiae are fairly common and in general of no concern.
Heavy lifting may lead to petechiae that resemble thin red lines on the shoulders. Petechiae are also often found in cases of manual or ligature strangulation.
Petechiae are a sign of thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts), other disorders of coagulation. If they appear during illness, especially illness with fever, they may be a sign of septicemia (blood-borne bacterial infection), especially of Meningococcus (a causative agent of meningitis). The presence of petechiae in a sick child is therefore an important warning sign.

Phagocyte - Cell in the body which 'eats' damaged cells and foreign substances such as virus and bacteria. A macrophage is a type of phagocyte.

Phalanges - Toes.

Pheromone - Chemical secreted by an animal and sensed by another animal of the same species, and often causing behavior change in that animal.

Photoperiod - The number of hours of light per 24-hour period.

Photosensitivity - A condition in which the skin reacts abnormally to light, especially ultraviolet light or sunlight. It is usually caused by the interaction of light with certain chemicals in the skin such as antibiotics, other medications, hormones, or toxins.

Phytochemical - Substances in plants which affect a body system and may promote health and decrease the risk of a disease such as cancer.

Phytoestrogen - Substances which have an activity similar to estrogens and are produced by plants.

Pica - Craving to eat unnatural articles such as rocks or dirt.

Placebo - A substance which is given that has no therapeutic value; often called a 'dummy pill' or 'sugar pill.' Often given to half of the patients in a trial of a new drug, to better assess the effectiveness of the new drug.

Plantigrade stance - Standing and walking with the hocks on or almost touching the floor.

Plaque - A build-up of bacteria, saliva, and food on the teeth. See also Tartar.

Plastron - The lower hard shell-like structure which protects the abdomen of a turtle or tortoise.

Platelets - Cellular components found in the blood which help clots to form. In the body, microscopically small vessels often break in the normal course of events. Platelets and a protein called fibrinogen 'plug' the break in the vessel and prevent blood from leaking out.

Polyarthritis - Arthritis which involves two or more joints.

Polydactyl - The presence of extra toes.

Polydipsia - Excessive thirst resulting in excessive drinking.

Polyestrous - During one sexual season, continuing to come into heat if not bred. Cats are polyestrous, dogs are not.

Polyp - A small growth from mucous membranes such as those lining the nasal cavity and intestinal tract.

Polyphagia - Excessive ingestion of food.

Polyuria - Excessive urination.

Posterior - Positioned in back of another body part, or towards the rear half of the animal. Opposite of anterior.

Postoperative - After surgery.

Prepuce - The sheath of skin which covers the penis.

Proestrus - The stage of the estrus cycle, right before an animal comes into heat.

Progesterone - A hormone produced by the ovaries which is responsible for the continuation of pregnancy.

Prognosis - The forecasted outcome and recovery.

Prolactin - Hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates the growth of mammary tissue and the production of milk.

Prolapsed rectum - Because of irritation or injury, the inner part of the rectum is pushed out so that it is visible as a pink mass protruding from the anal opening.

Prostaglandin - Several types of chemicals made by cells which have specific functions such as controlling body temperature, stimlating smooth muscle, and influencing heat cycles.

Protease - Enzyme which breaks down protein.

Protozoans - Single-celled animals invisible to the naked eye. Most are free living and a few are parasites in animals or man.

Pruritus - Itching.

Psittacine - Birds that belong to the order Psittaciformes. Common psittacines include budgies, cockatiels, lories, cockatoos, conures, amazons, African greys, lovebirds, senegals, and jardines.

Pulmonary - Relating to the lungs.

Pulmonary arteries - The large vessels leading from the heart to the lungs.

Pulmonary edema - Fluid accumulation in the lungs.

Pulmonary emboli - Pulmonary embolism: Blood clot that travels to the blood vessels in the lung and obstructs them.

Pupa - A dormant form of an insect (plural pupae). A larva spins a cocoon to protect itself, and becomes a pupa. The pupa does not feed, but gradually changes form and becomes a new adult.

Pustule - Small elevated area on the skin filled with pus.

Pyloroduodenal - An obstruction in the area where the stomach and small intestine meet.

Pyoderma - An infection of the skin; usually the result of a bacterial invasion.

Pyometra - An infection of the uterus.