Glossary of Terms

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Abortion

ah-bor’shun
The expulsion from the uterus of a living fetus before it reaches a viable age, or more commonly the expulsion of a dead fetus of recognizable size at any stage of the gestation period.

Agalactia

The failure of the secretion of milk (lactation) from any cause other than the normal ending of the lactation period.

Bicornuate uterus

bi-kor´nu-āte u´ter-us
Two separate uterine “horns” that have separate cervices opening into one vagina.

Cervix

The opening between the uterus and the vagina.

Cesarean section (C-section)

The process of delivering offspring by surgical incision through the abdomen (laparotomy) and uterus (hysterotomy) to deliver one or more offspring.

Dam

Female parent, mother.

Dystocia

Difficult delivery.

Embryo

An organism in its early stages of development, especially before it has reached a distinctively recognizable form.

Estrus

The periodic state of sexual excitement that immediately precedes ovulation and during which the female is most receptive to mating. In rats it occurs every 4-5 days and is not seasonal.

Estropause

The term denoting irregular, reduction and cessation of estrus cycles due to disruption of hormones in the aged female rat. Can occur starting at 9-12 months of age, but more typically seen between 15-18 months of age.

Fetus

The unborn young having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.

Heat

See Estrus.



Labor

The process by which birth occurs, beginning with contractions of the uterus and ending with the expulsion of the fetuses and the placentas.

Lactation

The secretion of milk by the mammary gland that provides nourishment to the pups.

Lordosis

A ventral arching of the spine by the female during estrus.

Maceration (fetal)

The degenerative changes with discoloration and softening of tissues, and eventual disintegration, of a fetus retained in the uterus after its death.

Mating

The act of pairing a male and female for reproductive purposes.

Metritis

An infection of the uterus after delivery.

Milk

A nutritious fluid produced by the dam’s mammary glands for feeding their offspring.

Mummification (fetal)

The conversion of a retained dead fetus to a dehydrated state.

Neonate

Newborn.

Oxytocin (natural)

A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the contraction of uterine muscles during labor and facilitates lactation.

Oxytocin (injectable Pitocin)

A hormone given IM to stimulate labor.

Parturition

The act or process of giving birth.

Placenta

A temporary vascular organ joining the dam and fetus that transfers oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus, and permits the release of carbon dioxide and waste products from the fetus.

Postnatal

Existing or occurring after birth.

Prenatal

Existing or occurring before birth.

Primiparous

Relating to a first pregnancy or birth.

Progeny

Offspring (immediate descendants).

Pup

The term for rat offspring.

Pyometra

A uterine infection where the uterus fills with pus.

Resorption (embryonic/fetal)

The organic process in which the embryo/fetus undergoes lysis and assimilation.

Shock

A profound hemodynamic and metabolic disturbance due to failure of the circulatory system to maintain adequate perfusion of vital organs.

Sire

Male parent, father.

Stillborn

A fetus which has died in the uterus, during labor, or during delivery that exits the body.

Torsion (uterine)

The act or process of the uterine horn(s) being twisted or rotated.

Umbilical cord

A flexible cord, containing the umbilical arteries and vein, which connects the developing embryo or fetus with the placenta.

Wean

To accustom the young of a mammal to take nourishment other than by suckling.


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