The Health and Life Experience Survey and several other surveys ask detailed questions about your dog’s health history. Some questions ask about general health conditions. Others ask about health conditions that occur in specific body systems. Some allow you to enter specific diagnoses.
In general, we ask you to complete the health status questions to the best of your ability and with as much detail as you are able to provide. However, don’t worry if you can’t answer everything. For example, a participant may know that their dog had an infection in a certain body system but not know the specific type of infection. Any information you can provide will be useful.
The glossary below may be helpful as you complete health status information.
Infectious or parasitic disease
Infections include bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa or parasites such as worms or flukes. They can occur in just one part of the body or in multiple places in the body at once.
Ingestion of toxic or controlled substance
Toxins can include chemicals, poisons, or medications that were not intended for the dog, and controlled substances include prescribed medications or recreational drugs. Ingestion means to eat or drink, including licking the substance off the ground or the dog’s own body.
Trauma includes any kind of harmful accident or injury, such as a fall, a fight with another animal, a car accident, or an injury that occurred during play or normal activity.
Cancer or tumors
Cancer or tumors can be benign or malignant. They can be external or internal and can occur in just one part of the body or in multiple places in the body at once.
This system includes the entire eyeball (cornea, iris, lens and retina) as well as the tear glands and eyelids.
Ear, nose, and throat
This system includes the external and internal parts of the ears, the external and internal parts of the nose, the sinuses, and the back of the nose (pharynx) where it joins the throat.
Teeth or mouth (Dental or oral)
The oral cavity (mouth) includes the dentition (teeth and tooth roots), the tongue and gums, the salivary glands, and the lips.
The skin includes the hairy and the non-haired parts as well as the hair itself, the paw pads, and the nails.
The cardiac system pumps and circulates blood throughout the body. It includes the heart and blood vessels.
The respiratory system brings air in and out of the body and facilitates oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide removal. It includes the larynx, trachea (windpipe), and the lungs.
The gastrointestinal system brings food into the body for digestion and absorption of nutrients and then eliminates feces. It includes the esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon, rectum, and anal sacs.
Liver or pancreas (including the gallbladder)
The liver helps the body digest and process nutrients, makes certain proteins and bile, and clears the blood of toxins and wastes. The gallbladder resides within the liver lobes and stores bile. The gallbladder and pancreas work together to help the body digest nutrients.
Kidney or urinary system
The kidney and urinary system filters blood to produce, store, and eliminate urine. It includes the kidneys, ureters (tube between kidneys and bladder), urinary bladder, and urethra (tube between urinary bladder and outside the body).
The reproductive system encompasses all of the organs necessary to produce and nurse puppies. It includes the prostate, testicles, and penis in males and the ovaries, uterus, mammary glands (breasts), vagina, and vulva in females.
The orthopedic system gives form to the body and allows external movements. It includes the bones of the head, spine and limbs as well as muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments.
The neurologic system controls thinking, movement, and reflexes. It includes the brain, spinal cord, and all nerves throughout the body.
The endocrine system produces hormones that regulate many important body functions. Endocrine glands include the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and the beta cells. Endocrine hormones include thyroid hormone (thyroxine), parathyroid hormone (which regulates calcium), cortisol, growth hormone, and insulin.
Hematopoietic (blood or lymphatic) system
The hematopoietic system encompasses components of blood and lymph. It includes red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and the bone marrow as well as the spleen and lymph nodes.
The immune system produces cells and antibodies to protect the body from infection and disease. When abnormal it can attack many other systems of the body (such as the blood, the joints or the skin) and cause “immune-mediated” diseases.
General / multiple systems
This refers to any health condition that affects more than one body system or the entire body such as septic infection or metastatic cancer.