AAFCO: Association of American Feed Control Officials; an organization which sets standards for pet food ingredients and minimum daily requirements.
Acid: A fluid containing a high proportion of hydrogen ions, giving the liquid a sour taste. Measured by pH units, with 1 the most acid, and 14 the least acid. Chemical reactions in the body have to take place at or near neutrality, pH 7.
ACTH: Adrenocorticotropic hormone. A hormone, secreted by the pituitary gland, which stimulates the adrenal gland to work.
Active Immunity: Immunity produced when an animal�s own immune system reacts to a stimulus ., a virus or bacteria, and produces antibodies and cells which will protect it from the disease caused by the bacteria or virus. Compare with ‘passive immunity’. Acute: Having a sudden and generally severe onset. See also chronic.
Addisons disease, Addisonian: Addison’s disease is also known as hypoadrenocorticism. It is a disease that results from a decrease in corticosteroid secretion from the adrenal gland. See article: Addison’s Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism)
Adjuvant: A substance added to killed vaccines to stimulate a better immune response by the body. Common adjuvants contain aluminum compounds.
Adrenal Glands: Two small glands near the kidneys that produce many hormones required
Adrenergic: Communication between the nerves and muscles that uses epinephrine as the ‘messenger’. Adrenergic stimulation is what is involved in the ‘flight or fight’ response, which means the body is alerted to a danger of some sort and prepares to basically run or fight. Adrenergic stimulation results in an increased heart rate, sweating, and increased blood pressure.
Adsorbent: Solid substance which attracts other molecules to its surface. Aerobic: Needing oxygen to live. See also anaerobic.
Agglutination: Clumping together.
Albino: An animal that is completely white because it lacks the ability to make pigment. Its eyes are pale blue or pink.
Alkaline: A substance with very few hydrogen ions, and a pH over 7. Lye is strongly alkaline.
Alopecia: A loss of hair or baldness.
Allergen: Substance that causes an allergic reaction, ., pollen.
Aminoglycoside: A class of antibiotics which act by interfering with bacterial protein synthesis within the bacteria which results in the death of the bacteria. Antibiotics in this class include gentamicin (Gentocin), kanamycin, neomycin, streptomycin, tobramycin, and amikacin. Many of these antibiotics are not well-absorbed from the animal’s digestive system, so are often administered as injections, or used topically.