How to Speak Vet

Say What? An Introduction to the Most Common Terms and Abbreviations in Veterinary Medicine.

In the world of vet medicine, exists a language all its own. When it comes to treating your pet’s medical issues, clear communication is key. Understanding what your Veterinarian is saying at the time of the exam is going to make for a better treatment experience for you and your pet. Remembering which medication to give and when can be enough to send most of our heads into a spin. Add in a few abbreviations, a few code words and some medical terminology, and you may leave more confused than when you arrived.

We’ve put together a little list of terms and abbreviations frequently used around Van Isle Veterinary Hospital that might be helpful in ‘Speaking Vet’; Cause hey, the more you know…

TPR: Temperature, Pulse, Respiration. Refers to the initial assessment of an animal when it comes in for treatment. We will also perform a TPR upon arrival during an emergency situation and use a TPR to triage critical patients. Your veterinarian will take multiple TPR’s during and after a surgical procedure.

NPO: Nothing given orally. No food or water should be offered to the patient.

SUB Q: Subcutaneous. A means of administering fluids or medications under the skin

IM: Intermuscular. A means of administering fluids or medications into the muscle

PU/PD: Polyuria and Polydipsia. Refers to excessive water consumption and urine production in dogs and cats often associated with early onset kidney disease, diabetes and hyperthyroidism. This can also be a side effect of medications such as steroids.

FLUTD: Feline lower urinary tract disease

BAR: Bright, Alert, Responsive. This is often a term we use on your pets’ medical records during physical exams as well as when in for treatment.

NDR: Not Doing Right. A general description is given to describe an animal who is unwell, with broad or general malaise.

NAF: No Abnormal Findings.

BID: Twice a Day. (Most often used in medical records when prescribing medications)

SID: Once a Day. (Most often used in medical records when prescribing medications)

TID: Three times a day. (Most often used in medical records when prescribing medications)

PRN: As needed. Used in medical records for both prescribing medications as well as treatments.

EOD: Every other Day. (Most often used in medical records when prescribing medications)

CBC/CHEM: Complete Blood Cell Count and Chemistry. A common analysis vet’s run when doing general blood work.

UA: Urinalysis

T4: Thyroid Panel. A blood analysis to help diagnose hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

CRT: Capillary Refill Time. A vet will press on the gum to see how quickly the colour goes from pale to pink to help determine the severity of concern such as shock, low blood pressure and dehydration. EMT’s use this same technique in the human world by pressing down on a patient’s fingernails.

DX: Diagnosis

HR: Heart Rate

HX: History

FX: Fracture

IV: Intravenous. Administered into the vein

PE: Physical Exam

And the list goes on! We hope that this introduction into the secret vocabulary of Veterinary Medicine helps you navigate your next Vet visit with ease

Written by: Van Isle Veterinary Hospital