Animal Anatomy Glossary

Learning the correct terminology used to describe an animal’s morphologic structure, or anatomy, can make a visit the veterinarian’s office uncomplicated.

Action: How the animal moves

Angulation: Angle formed at a joint

Apron: The hair on a chest

Back: Part of the topline between the withers and the loin

Brisket: Breast bone

Caudal or posterior: Towards the rear

Cranial or anterior: Towards the head

Croup: Muscular area around the tail

Crown: The roof of the brain or the top-skull

Dew Claw: The inside of the pastern

Distal: Away from the animal’s body

Dorsal: The part facing the ceiling

Elbow: The front limbs

Feathering: Long coat of the belly back of legs and tail

Flews: Hanging part of a dogs upper lip

Furrow: Center of the skull between the eyes

Hock: Joint on rear leg between the thigh and pastern

Lateral: The sides

Loin: Area from ribcage to pelvis

Medial: The midline

Muzzle: The foreface or area in front of the brain

Occiput: The point where the back of the skull joins the parietal bones, the back point of the skull

Palmar: The bottom of the front foot (the pad)

Pastern: Area between the wrist and foot on the forelimbs

Pastern, Rear: Area between hock joint and foot on rear limbs

Plantar: The bottom of the rear foot

Proximal: Towards the animal’s body

Ruff: Hair on the collar or neck

Second Thigh: Area between the strife to the hock on the rear limbs

Stern: Tail

Stifle: Knee joint on rear limb

Stop: The region past the muzzle

Topline: Line from withers to croup

Tuck up: Silhouette produced by the abdomen’s line as it sweeps upwards into the hind limbs region

Ventral: Toward the floor

Withers: Region directly behind the neck, the top of the shoulder blades