Glossary

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Ad hoc
An ad hoc committee is one that is set up for a particular purpose.

Adrenalectomy
Surgical removal of the adrenal glands.

Aesthetically
Tastefully; concerned with appearance.

Agonist
When talking about drugs, this refers to a compound that stimulates or enhances activity of the cell receptors.

Air lock
In biosafety facilities airlocks are usually two sets of doors in a corridor which when closed form a series of air locks to prevent air moving in or out of the area. Only one door should be opened at one time.

Air pressure gradient
Different air pressures in an animal facility's ventilation system can be used to help create barriers to contain or exclude microorganisms. A clean, biocontainment room or area, for example, would have a higher air pressure than the corridor, so that when the door is open, the air flows out rather than in.

Albumin
Albumin is one of the major plasma proteins. It has many functions in the blood plasma including carrying molecules (and some drugs) throughout the body.

Allergen
Any substance capable of producing a type 1 allergic reaction.

Alpha2 adrenergic receptor agonists
This is a group of pain relieving drugs that includes xylazine and medetomidine.

Alveoli
The alveoli in the lungs are the small grape-like clusters of outpouchings at the end of the lung's air ducts, where gas exchange (oxygen, carbon dioxide) takes place.

Anaphylaxis
A generalized allergic reaction (also called anaphylactic shock) in sensitized individuals that results in life-threatening symptoms which may include vascular collapse, shock and respiratory distress.

Anoxia
Anoxia means a total lack of oxygen. Often used interchangeably with hypoxia, which means a reduced supply of oxygen.

Antagonist
When talking about drugs, this refers to a compound that opposes the activity of the cell receptors.

Anthropomorphic
This term is used to describe a person's attitude when he/she ascribes human attributes to an animal, or to the animal's experiences or perceptions.

Anti-rejection drugs
People who have received an organ transplant need medication every day to prevent organ rejection. Drugs called immunosuppressants or anti-rejection drugs help suppress the immune system to prevent or reverse rejection. At the same time, these drugs may have side effects. A number of drugs are commonly used for this purpose.

Anxiolytic
Removing or diminishing anxiety.

Arthritis
Inflammation of the body joints.

Asthma
Asthma is a condition of the lungs caused by constriction of the airways and mucus secretion. These interfere with normal air movement in the lungs and cause wheezing.

Atopy
Atopy is an inherited, familial tendency to develop some form of allergy such as hay fever, asthma, eczema.

Autoclave
A machine used to sterilize by a combination of steam and pressure.

Axenic
Completely germ free. An axenic rat in an isolator would be one that is free of all other microorganisms.

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Barbiturates
Barbiturates are a group of sedative/anesthetic drugs. Some of these have a high potential for abuse, and all are controlled drugs.

Benzocaine hydrochloride
Benzocaine is a local anesthetic, often used topically in human medicine. It is also used to kill amphibians and fish.

Bradycardia
Slowing of the heart rate.

Bradykinin
One of a group of small proteins that actively affect smooth muscle contraction in blood vessel walls, and so have effects on blood pressure. Bradykinin dilates blood vessels, and also stimulates pain receptors.

Bronchoconstriction
Narrowing of the air passages in the lungs.

BSE Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, also known as "Mad Cow Disease", is a chronic, degenerative disorder affecting the central nervous system of cattle, which was first diagnosed in Britain in 1986.

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Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is a national charitable body comprised of animal welfare organizations and individuals, whose purpose is to promote compassion and humane treatment for all animals. CFHS is a national voice on animal welfare issues, representing its member societies and branches across the country, and is a member organization of the CCAC. The CFHS is committed to ending the suffering of animals by working with the public, government, industry, the scientific community, educators and the media on both the national and local levels. http://www.cfhs.ca/index.htm

Carcinogen
A carcinogen is a chemical, physical, or biological substance that is capable of causing cancer. Often used in reference to chemicals or pollutants. Some carcinogens are used to produce cancer in research models.

Cardiac arrhythmia
Irregular beating of the heart.

Catecholamines
A group of compounds with active roles in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This group includes adrenalin (epinephrin is another name for the same compound) which is a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland, and noradrenalin (norepinephrin is another name for the same compound). Effects include blood vessel constriction and increase in blood pressure, and increased heart rate.

Cerebral ischemia
Ischemia refers to a lack of adequate blood flow to an area. Cerebral ischemia refers to a lack of adequate blood flow to the brain, which may be the result of a blood clot, blood vessel constriction or a hemorrhage.

Cervical dislocation
A physical euthanasia technique where pressure is applied to the neck to dislocate the spinal column from the skull, normally only conducted on small animals.

Chemical restraint
Chemical restraint is the use of sedatives or anesthetics to control an animal's activity and thereby allow certain procedures to be done with minimal stress to the animal.

Chloramphenicol
Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic once in common use in veterinary medicine but now banned in food producing animals, due to the potential for bone marrow depression of blood cell production.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of elk and other deer, first recognized the 1960s in Colorado and identified as a prion disease in the late 1970s. Deer with CWD have been found in game farms, and wild elk and deer with CWD have been found in the USA and Canada.

Class II Biosafety Cabinet
Class II biological safety cabinets are designed to have air flow drawn around the operator, into the front of the cabinet to protect the person. Inside the cabinet a downward laminar flow of HEPA-filtered air protects the product being handled. There are several types of Class II biosafety cabinets.

CNS
The Central Nervous System consists of the brain and spinal cord, in vertebrates.

Commensal
Commensal means a microorganism that normally lives in close contact with a human or animal without causing any harm. This would include many of the bacteria normally present on a person's or animal's skin or intestine.

Conjunctivitis
Inflammation of the membranes of the eyelids and around the eye.

Controlled drug
Controlled drugs are those listed in the schedule to the Narcotic Control Regulations of the Controlled Drugs & Substances Act, and can only be obtained by a licensed doctor, dentist or veterinarian, or by special permit for research purposes. The list includes the barbiturates, and many opiates.

Corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are hormones produced by the adrenal cortex that affect many body processes. Their properties include anti-inflammatory actions, breakdown of protein and fat, activation in the nervous system, the body's salt and water balance, regulation of blood pressure, and so on. Synthetic corticosteroids are used in many treatments prescribed by physicians and veterinarians.

CT
Computed Tomography, also called Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scanning, is a diagnostic medical tool that uses x rays to obtain a series of cross-section images of the body which are then integrated using a computer.

Cystitis
Inflammation of the urinary bladder.

Cytokines
Cytokines are a group of compounds that are secreted primarily from white blood cells when the immune system is activated. They stimulate both the humoral and cellular immune responses, and activate other cells of the immune system. Some of the cytokines are called interleukins.

Cytolytic
Cyto - cells; lysis - destruction. Cytolytic ability or capacity refers to the ability to destroy cells, by a microorganism, for example.

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Dander
Small scales from hair or feathers which flake off and can become airborne.

Demeanor
Demeanor refers to a person's bearing ,or behavior towards others.

Discomfort
Discomfort is viewed as a mild form of distress.

Distress
Distress is a state associated with invasive procedures conducted on an animal, or with restrictive or other conditions which significantly compromise the welfare of an animal, which may or may not be associated with pain, and where the animal must devote substantial effort or resources to the adaptive response to challenges emanating from the environmental situation.

Diurnal rhythm
Most animals (and plants) have a daily rhythm of activity. This is the diurnal rhythm.

Doppler equipment
A Doppler transducer is one that uses ultrasound to evaluate blood flow inside the body. The instrument looks like a microphone, and sends and receives silent, high frequency sound waves.

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Edema
Edema is the term used to describe the presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid in a tissue or organ.

Encephalitis
Refers to infection or inflammation of the brain. Ascending encephalitis refers to an infection of the nervous tissue that travels up towards the brain and eventually affects the brain too.

Endorphins
Endorphins are a group of small proteins naturally occurring in the brain around nerve endings, that bind to opiate receptors and thus can raise the pain threshold. Enkephalins are included in this group of compounds.

Endpoint
The term "endpoint" can be defined as the point at which an experimental animal's pain and/or distress is terminated, minimized or reduced by taking actions such as humanely killing the animal, terminating a painful procedure, or giving treatment to relieve pain and/or distress.

Eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes
These are different cell types in the white blood cell series. Their numbers change in many conditions such as disease, distress, toxic states. White blood cell counts are useful for diagnostic purposes.

Epidural
The epidural space is the space around the spinal cord. Epidural anesthesia is produced by injecting the analgesic drug (usually a local anesthetic, but it could also be an opioid) into the epidural space, usually in the lumbar region. The drug directly affects the spinal cord or the nerve roots arising from the cord.

Euthanasia
To kill an animal painlessly, and without distress.

Eczema
A skin reaction typically resulting in itchiness, reddening, thickening and possibly oozing.

Exsanguination
Generally, the excessive loss of blood. As a secondary technique for euthanasia, it may involve deliberately removing as much blood as possible from an animal.

Ex vivo
Outside the living body, for example removing a liver for studies in a perfusion apparatus.

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First pass metabolism
First-pass metabolism refers to the phenomenon of a drug taken orally which is absorbed through the intestinal wall and goes directly to the liver through the portal vein system and gets metabolized there before reaching the target organ. This is avoided by giving the drugs by other routes (e.g., intramuscular, intravenous).

Flexible film isolators
Isolators used for housing germ free (axenic) and gnotobiotic animals - a system with a complete barrier against contamination.

Flight zone
The flight zone is an animal's "personal space". The size of the flight zone varies with the tameness of the animal, and other animal-related factors. Wild animals have a much larger flight zone than most domestic animals that are used to humans.

Fomite
Any object, that is not harmful itself, but may be capable of carrying an infectious microorganism on it and thus transmit disease.

Formalin
Formalin, or formaldehyde, in solution is used as a tissue preservative and fixative for tissue specimens.

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Garbage in garbage out (GIGO)
This term refers to the fact that computers will process nonsensical, faulty or incomplete input data and produce nonsensical, faulty or incomplete output.

Gnotobiotic
A gnotobiotic system is a completely closed biological environment in which all organisms are known. For example, a gnotobiotic mouse could be a mouse that has only one species of bacteria in its intestine.

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Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, pain, vomiting, and onset of respiratory distress and prostration. Mortality rates are high despite symptomatic treatment.

Harried
A person or animal who/that is harassed or bothered.

HEPA filter
HEPA filter stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. Such a filter will be at least 99.97% efficient at removing all particles in the air down to a size of tenths of a micrometre.

Hepatic
Associated with the liver.

Hepatitis
Inflammation of the liver.

Histamine
A compound found throughout the body, but in highest concentrations in the white blood cell types that are active in inflammation and allergy responses. Release of histamine and its effects on tissues are responsible for some of the symptoms of allergic reactions.

Hypertension
High blood pressure.

Hypophysectomy
Surgical removal of the pituitary (also know as the hypophysis) gland at the base of the brain.

Hypotension
Low blood pressure.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
The HPA axis refers to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. It is the internal neuroendocrine system that responds to stress and results in production of corticosteroid hormones that affect the brain, the cardiovascular system, and other systems in getting the body ready for what is known as the "fight or flight" mechanism.

Hypoxia, hypoxemia
A state of reduced oxygen in the blood or organs or tissues.

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ICCVAM
ICCVAM, the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, is an agency of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), working to develop and validate new safety test methods, and to establish criteria and processes for the validation and regulatory acceptance of toxicological testing methods.

Immunocompetent
An animal whose immune system is functioning normally and capable of mounting an antibody or cell-mediated immune response, is immunocompetent.

Immunocompromised
An animal whose immune system is not functioning normally and that may be incapable of mounting an antibody or cell-mediated immune response, is immunocompromised. Some genetic models are immune deficient (immunocompromised). Anti-rejection drugs also result in compromise of the immune system.

Incubation period
A disease incubation period is the period of time between the actual infection and the first signs of disease.

Infrastructure
This is the basic supporting structure of an organization. Physical infrastructure in this context refers to the buildings and animal facilities used to house experimental animals.

In situ
In situ refers to something that is in its natural or original position.

Intercostal
Situated between the ribs.

Intraperitoneal
Within the peritoneal cavity. An intraperitoneal injection is made into the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen.

Intravenous
Within a vein. An intravenous injection is made into a vein.

In vitro
In an artificial environment, for example in a test tube.

In vivo
Within the living body.

Irradiated food
There are several types of radiant energy used to sterilize foods. Gamma irradiation is commonly used to sterilize laboratory animal feeds. The amount of irradiating energy is controlled to kill all microorganisms, without affecting the quality of the food.

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Keratin
The primary protein of skin, hair, and nails.

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Macaque Monkeys
The macaques are a subgroup of the old world monkey and baboon family, that are widely distributed in Africa, central and southeast Asia, southern China and Japan. This group includes the rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys – two types of macaques used in biomedical research.

Malaise
A vague feeling of bodily discomfort or tiredness.

Malignant hyperthermia
An inherited condition in humans and some animals that results in an uncontrolled increase in body temperature upon exposure to certain anesthetics. Halothane is a potent trigger of malignant hyperthermia in susceptible animals or people. At one time, the genetic trait was common in commercial pigs, but it has been almost eliminated through genetic selection.

Mannequin
An animal mannequin is an anatomical model used for teaching.

Mastitis
Inflammation of the mammary glands.

Metazoan
Multicellular organism (e.g. worms). A protozoan is a unicellular organism.

Microisolator (cages)
The term "microisolator" describes laboratory animal cages that have an air filter in a frame covering the entire top of the cage, used to minimize contamination of the animals in the cage.

MRI
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical diagnostic technique that creates images of the body using nuclear magnetic resonance. When a patient is placed into the cylindrical magnet, the process follows three basic steps. First, MRI creates a magnetic steady state within the body using a magnetic field 30,000 times stronger than the earth's magnetic field. Then MRI stimulates the body with radio waves to change the steady-state orientation of protons. It then stops the radio waves and “listens” to the body's electromagnetic transmissions at a selected frequency. That signal is used to construct detailed internal images of the body using a computer program.

MSDS
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are the internationally standardized way to document the hazardous properties of chemicals and other hazardous agents. Chemical companies provide such data sheets, and collections of MSDS sheets are available from several sources.

Mucosa
The mucosa is the membrane that lines body cavities including the intestine.

Mu receptors
Opioid drugs bind to the mu receptors in the brain and nervous tissue .

Muscarinic actions of acetylcholine
The muscarinic actions of acetylcholine include slowing the heart, increasing secretions from the salivary gland and respiratory tract. Thus, anti-muscarinic drugs used as preanesthetics block secretions that might clog up the respiratory track during anesthesia, and reduce the slowing of the heart rate. Muscarine is a mushroom-derived alkaloid that mimics certain actions of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, hence the term "muscarinic" actions of acetylcholine.

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NMDA Receptors
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are important for the transmission of some aspects of pain in the central nervous system. In particular, they appear to be involved in the development of hypersensitivity that accompagnies injuries or inflammation

Neuroleptanalgesia
Neuroleptanalgesia is defined as a state of quiescence, altered awareness, and analgesia produced by the administration of a combination of a neuroleptic agent and a narcotic (opioid) analgesic.

Neuroma
A neuroma is a tumor growth of nerve cells and fibres. It may occur at the end of an injured nerve fibre.

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OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is made up of a group of 29 member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. Its work covers economic and social issues, produces internationally agreed-upon instruments, decisions and recommendations that allow for rules where multilateral agreements are necessary for individual countries to make progress in a globalized economy. In the area of safety/toxicity testing of products, the OECD guidelines set standards for such testing, including when animals are used.

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Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential damage or described in terms of such damage.

Peritonitis
Inflammation of the lining of the peritoneal cavity (abdomen).

Phenothiazine derivative drugs
This group of drugs includes commonly used tranquilizers in both human and veterinary medicine such as acepromazine, chlorpromazine.

pH
pH is the symbol given to the hydrogen ion concentration in a liquid. pH 7 is neutral; higher pH is alkaline, lower pH is acidic.

Piloerection
Standing up of the body hair.

Pithing
Pithing is a physical method of rendering an animal brain dead by destroying the cerebral hemispheres. A sharp probe is introduced into the brain cavity through the foramen magnum to accomplish this.

Placenta
The membranes surrounding the fetus in the womb.

Positive pressure ventilated suits
Positive pressure ventilated suits are worn by personnel who have to work in maximum containment (level 4 biocontainment). They are sealed suits with their own filtered air ventilation.

Pre-emptive analgesia
This refers to the administering of pain relieving drugs before the pain is expected to begin, for example giving analgesics before anesthesia and surgery begin.

Prion
Prions are infectious agents which (almost certainly) do not have nucleic acid - a protein alone seems to be the infectious agent. Prions are small proteinaceous infectious particles which resist inactivation by procedures that modify nucleic acids. Prion diseases are often called spongiform encephalopathies because of the post-mortem appearance of the brain with large "holes" in the cortex and cerebellum.

Prion Diseases
Prion diseases are often called spongiform encephalopathies because of the post-mortem appearance of the brain with large "holes" in the cortex and cerebellum. Examples include: scrapie in sheep; CWD (chronic wasting disease) in elk and other deer; BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in cattle. Human prion diseases include: CJD (Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease); Kuru; Alpers Syndrome.

Prostaglandin
The prostaglandins are a group of fatty acid compounds that have many effects throughout the body, including activity in inflammation, smooth muscle contraction, regulating body temperature, and effects on certain hormones.

Protozoan
A unicellular organism (e.g. bacteria). A metazoan is a multicellular organism.

Pulse oximeter
A pulse oximeter is an external probe that uses light bounced off the blood vessels under the probe to determine level of oxygenation of the hemoglobin in the blood cells, through a computer calculation. The pulses of blood with the heart rate are detected.

Purpose-bred laboratory animals
Animals specifically bred for scientific purposes.

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Quarantine
Refers to the confinement or isolation of animals which may be carrying an infectious disease, usually for a specified period of time, to allow for testing.

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Red light test
To accurately evaluate changes in the level of activity in rodents, the room lights can be turned off and using only a red light, their “normal” activity level will emerge after about 5 minutes. This is the “red light test”.

Reflex
Reflex usually describes an immediate involuntary response evoked by a stimulus, for example the cough reflex.

Ringtail
Ringtail in the rat is a condition in young suckling rats and mice, believed to be caused by low relative humidity (less than about 30%). There are annular constrictions on the tail that may progress to necrosis and sloughing of the tail tip. Ringtail can be prevented by maintaining relative humidity at approximately 50%.

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Scalpel
A scalpel is a small surgical knife with a handle onto which a blade is placed.

Scavenge, scavenger, scavenging
In a surgery room, the scavenging system is used to exhaust all waste anesthetic gasses out of the room to minimize risk of exposure of people to the anesthetic gas.

Scrapie
Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy - a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats, believed to be caused by prions.

Sentinel animal
A sentinel animal is an animal known to be susceptible to an infectious agent that is placed in the area suspected of being contaminated, for example in a new shipment of laboratory animals under quarantine. That animal is then tested to see if it became infected or developed antibodies to infectious agents.

SPF (Specified Pathogen Free)
Specified Pathogen Free is a designation used to describe the health status of animals. It means that a specific list of potentially infectious organisms have been tested for, and not found in an animal or group of animals.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
Standard operating procedures are written documents that describe in detail, step-by-step, how a procedure should be done.

Stereotypy
In animal behavior, stereotypies have been defined as behaviors that are repetitive, performed the same way each time, and seem to serve no obvious purpose or function. They may be compulsive behaviors that have become displaced, perhaps due to boredom, frustration, or unresolved stress.

Subarachnoid space
Injections of local anesthetic into the lumbar subarachnoid space are often called "spinal anesthesia", because they affect the preganglionic fibers in the spinal cord. The intent is to produce complete spinal cord "denervation" including all sensory and motor neurons in the area.

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T cells
The T cells are cells derived from the thymus that play a major role in a variety of cell-mediated immune reactions. (B cells are also important in immunity because they synthesize and secrete antibodies which protect animals from infection, viruses, etc.)

Tetanus
The disease called Tetanus occurs when a wound becomes infected with bacterial spores of Clostridium tetani. These spores grow and produce a very powerful toxin which affects the muscles by producing rigidity, and in severe cases convulsions. Treatment is difficult, and vaccination is the only way to provide safe, effective long-term protection against tetanus.

Thoracotomy
Surgery through the chest wall.

Thyroidectomy
Surgical removal of the thyroid glands.

Tidal volume
The Tidal Volume in the lungs is the amount (volume) of air inhaled and exhaled with each normal breath.

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Ultrasonic
Sound waves that are too high for humans to hear are "ultrasonic". The hearing range of many animals, including rodents, extends much higher than for humans.

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Vagus nerve
The vagus nerve is the tenth cranial nerve. It is the longest of the cranial nerves and its name derives from the Latin meaning "wandering". The vagus nerve wanders from the brain stem through organs in the neck, chest and abdomen. It supplies both sensory and motor fibres to parts of the neck and chest, and to both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to organs in the chest and abdomen.

Vasodilation
Dilation of the blood vessels (veins, arteries). Usually is accompanied by a drop in blood pressure.

Vector
A carrier, particularly the animal (e.g. an insect or mite) that can transfer an infectious organism from one host to another.

Virulence
The degree to which an infectious organism can cause serious disease or invade the host tissue.

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WHMIS
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada's hazard communication system. The system includes labelling of containers of "controlled products", provision of material safety data sheets (MSDS) and worker education programs. The system is implemented through legislation, and administered by Health Canada. Employers are required to
ensure that controlled products used, stored, handled or disposed of in the workplace are properly labelled, MSDSs are made available to workers, and workers receive education and training to ensure the safe storage, handling and use of controlled products.

Windup
In some forms of ongoing pain, the spinal cord and brain receive pain signals over a considerable period of time. There can be adaptation by the spinal cord that results in the incoming pain signal becoming amplified in a phenomenon known as windup pain. This means the pain signal reaching the brain is stronger than before, and the ability of other pathways to modify (decrease) the sensation is diminished.

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Zoonosis
A zoonosis is a disease of animals that may, under natural conditions, be secondarily transmitted to humans - a disease that is communicable between animals and humans.

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