Vet-Speak

Published Jan. 30, 2012

I’ve heard that one of the most useful parts of my book, Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian, is the "commonly used acronyms" appendix. One of the best medical acronyms I’ve ever run across is "FLK."  Anybody out there know what that one means? Here’s a hint: think pediatrician rather than veterinarian.

People often accuse doctors of using jargon solely to confuse or obfuscate (the latter probably does apply to the FLK example. I know how I’d feel if I saw it written out on my daughter’s chart!). In all honesty, however, acronyms are usually just a quick and simple way to refer to something with a very long or confusing name, or to shorten a phrase that needs to be written down over and over again.

Here is a sample of some of the acronyms that I use in practice on an almost daily basis:

AD: right ear

ADR: ain’t doing right

AS: left ear

AU: both ears

BAR: bright, alert and responsive

BCS: body condition score

BID: twice daily, every 12 hours

BPM: beats or breaths per minute

CBC: complete blood count

CHF: congestive heart failure

CNS: central nervous system

CRT: capillary refill time

D/C: discontinue

Dx: diagnosis

EENT: eyes, ears, nose and throat

EOD: every other day

F/S: spayed female

FNA: fine needle aspirate

FUO: fever of unknown origin

Fx: fracture

HBC: hit by car

HCT: hematocrit

HR: heart rate

Hx: history

IM: intramuscular

IN: intranasal

IV: intravenous

M/N: neutered male

NDR: not doing right

NPO: nothing by mouth

NSF: no significant findings

OD: right eye

OS: left eye

OU: both eyes

PCV: packed cell volume

PE: physical exam

PO: by mouth

PRN: as needed

PU/PD: polyuria/polydipsia (i.e., drinking and urinating more than normal)

q: every (e.g., q4hrs means every 4 hours)

QAR: quiet, alert and responsive

QD: once daily, every 24 hours

QID: four times daily, every 6 hours

QOD: every other day

ROM: range of motion

RR: respiratory rate

Rx: prescription

S/R: suture removal

SC: under the skin

SID: once daily, every 24 hours

SOAP: subjective, objective, assessment, plan — a method of organizing medical records

SQ: under the skin

STAT: immediately

Sx: surgery

TID: three times daily, every 8 hours

TPR: temperature, pulse and respiration rates

Tx: treatment

UA: urinalysis

URI: upper respiratory infection

UTI: urinary tract infection

WNL: within normal limits

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image:Natalia Sinjushina & Evgeniy Meyke / via Shutterstock


Jennifer Coates, DVM

WRITTEN BY

Jennifer Coates, DVM

Veterinarian

Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian, writer, editor, and consultant with years of experience in the fields of veterinary...


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