Horse Health Glossary

Not sure what that veterinary word means? Look it up below!

Reprinted with permission from the University of California, Davis, The Book of Horses edited by Mordecai Siegal.

LABIA:
The external lips or folds of the vulva of the female.
LABILE:
Chemically unstable; easily destroyed.
LACERATIONS:
Tears in the skin and underlying muscle.
LACRIMAL GLAND:
Tear gland.
LACTATED RINGER'S SOLUTION:
A sterile salt solution for (usually intravenous, but sometimes subcutaneous) administration containing sodium lactate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride; given to restore fluid and electrolyte balance.
LACTATION:
The production of milk by the mare.
LACTOSE:
Milk sugar.
LAGOPHTHALMOS:
An inability to close the eyelids completely.
LAMINITIS:
Inflammation of the laminae of the foot, which serve to attach the coffin bone to the hoof wall; also known as founder.
LANGERHANS CELLS:
Cells found in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, that are important in generating immune responses in the skin.
LAPAROSCOPY:
Visual inspection of the interior of the abdominal cavity with a specialized instrument (a laparoscope), inserted through the body wall.
LARVAE (SINGULAR: LARVA):
Immature forms or stages in the life cycle of certain small animals, such as insects or parasites.
LARYNGEAL HEMIPLEGIA:
Paralysis affecting one side of the larynx, caused by damage to either of the two recurrent laryngeal nerves; also called roaring.
LARYNGITIS:
Inflammation of the larynx.
LARYNGOSCOPY:
Visual examination of the larynx.
LARYNX:
Muscular, cartilage-containing structure comprising the upper part of the respiratory tract between the pharynx and trachea, and containing the vocal chords; the "voice-box."
LATENT INFECTION:
Dormant stage of certain infections during which the infectious agent is known to be present but is not actively replicating and cannot be detected by usual means.
LATERAL:
Closer to the side than to the midline of the body.
LAVAGE:
Irrigation or flushing out.
LAXITY:
Looseness.
LECITHIN:
Fatty acid-rich constituent of the outer surface of cell membranes; also called phosphatidylcholine.
LEIOMYOMA:
Benign tumor of smooth muscle cells.
LEIOMYOSARCOMA:
Malignant tumor of smooth muscle cells.
LENS:
Transparent refractive structure that finely focuses images onto the retina for clear and sharp vision.
LEPTOSPIRES:
Spiral-shaped bacteria belonging to the spirochete group.
LEPTOSPIROSIS:
Bacterial disease caused by leptospires (spiral-shaped bacteria).
LESION:
Any disease-induced abnormality of tissue structure or tissue function.
LETHARGY:
An abnormal state of drowsiness or dullness.
LEUKOCORIA:
A whitening of the pupil of the eye.
LEUKOCYTES:
White blood cells.
LEUKOCYTOSIS:
Increase in the number of circulating white blood cells.
LEUKODERMA:
Whitening of the skin, often in localized patches.
LEUKOENCEPHALOMALACIA:
Degenerative brain disorder, apparently caused by a toxin produced by the mold Fusarium moniliforme; also called cornstalk disease, moldy corn poisoning, forage disease, and blind staggers.
LEUKOPENIA:
Reduction in the number of circulating white blood cells.
LEUKOTRICHIA:
Abnormal whitening of the hair, often in localized patches.
LEUKOTRIENES:
Compounds that act as modulators of allergic and inflammatory reactions.
LEYDIG CELLS:
Specialized cells in the testes that produce the male sex hormone testosterone.
LIBIDO:
Sexual drive.
LIGAMENT:
Strengthening band of fibrous tissue, for supporting and stabilizing a joint structure.
LIGATE:
To bind or tie off.
LIMBUS:
The line of demarcation between the cornea and sclera of the eye.
LINOLEIC ACID:
An essential fatty acid acquired from vegetable sources; important in the biosynthesis of cell membranes.
LIPASE:
An enzyme that breaks down fat.
LIPID FILM:
A layering of fat.
LIPID(S):
Fat(s).
LIPIDOSIS:
Abnormal accumulation of fat within cells.
LIPOMA:
Benign tumor of fat cells.
LIPOSARCOMA:
Malignant tumor of fat cells.
LOBULATED:
Divided into small lobes or lobules.
LOCKJAW:
Synonym for trismus, a clinical sign of tetanus.
LOCUS (PLURAL: LOCI):
The site on a chromosome where a specific gene is located.
LORDOSIS:
Downward curvature of the lumbar spine; "swayback."
LOW RINGBONE:
Ringbone affecting the coffin joint.
LUMBOSACRAL:
Pertaining to the lower back region
LUMEN:
The interior of a blood vessel or tubular organ, such as the intestine.
LUTEAL PHASE:
In the reproductive cycle, the period during which the ovarian follicle converts to a corpus luteum and secretes the hormone progesterone.
LUTEINIZATION:
Conversion of the ovarian follicle to a corpus luteum.
LUTEINIZING HORMONE (LH):
Hormone produced by the pituitary gland; together with follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) it assists in causing ovulation and inducing production of the hormone estrogen.
LUXATION:
Dislocation of a joint; also, total displacement of the lens of the eye from its normal position.
LYME BORRELIOSIS, LYME DISEASE:
An infectious arthritis of people and dogs caused by a spirochete bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi; whether this organism is the cause of any significant disorder in horses remains controversial at this time.
LYMPH:
Generally clear fluid drained from tissues, that circulates within the lymphatic vessels and contains fats, proteins, and specialized cells (lymphocytes).
LYMPH NODE:
Any of the body's many nodular accumulations of lymphoid cells; they are interconnected by means of lymphatic vessels.
LYMPHADENITIS:
Inflammation of one or more lymph nodes.
LYMPHADENOPATHY:
Enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, as from inflammation, infection, or cancer.
LYMPH-NODE ASPIRATE:
Sample of fluid and cells from deep within a lymph node, obtained using a needle and syringe.
LYMPHOCYTE:
A type of white blood cell capable of responding to the presence of foreign material in the body; lymphocytes play a central role in directing and coordinating immune responses.
LYMPHOCYTIC THYROIDITIS:
Immune-mediated inflammation of the thyroid gland.
LYMPHOCYTOSIS:
Abnormal increase in the number of circulating lymphocytes.
LYMPHOMA, LYMPHOSARCOMA:
Malignant tumor of lymphocytes.

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