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Acronyms in veterinary medicine

Blog        0     09/08/2023

Acronyms in veterinary medicine


In the veterinary culture of English-speaking countries, it is common to use  acronyms for all kinds of medical terminology. In other countries the use of  these acronyms is not so widespread, so it is normal for foreign veterinarians  starting to work in the United Kingdom to be surprised by the number of  abbreviations that are used and that we have never heard of! Below is an  extensive list of acronyms that are used commonly in practice and that you  should become familiar with. 

Food and drug administration

Ad lib ad libitum

CRI constant rate infusion

NPO nothing by mouth (nil per os)

TPN total parenteral nutrition

Administration Routes

PO oral(ly) (per os)

SC subcuteneous(ly(                        

IM intramuscular(ly)

IV intravenously)

Frequency of administration

sid once a day (q24h)

bid twice a day (q12h)

tid  three times a day (q8h)                       

qid four times a day (q6h)

eod every other day (q48h)

prn as needed (pro re nata)

History and physical exam

C+ cough Dx diagnosis Tx treatment

D+ diarrhoea Ddx differential diagnosis C/U check up

V+ vomiting Hx history RV revisit

Fx fracture Px prognosis O owner

Vx vaccine Sx surgery (en algunos sitios lo usan para symptoms)

BAR bright, alert and responsive

QAR quiet, alert and responsive                

TPR temperature, pulse, respirations         

HR heart rate

RR respiratory rate

bpm beats per minute

rpm respirations per minute

MM mucous membranes

BW bodyweight

BCS body condition score                          

S/O stitches out, sutures out                     

PE physical exploration, physical exam

INB if not better 

PLR pupillary light reflex                            

BIOP been in owner’s possession

STO spoke to the owner        

DLH domestic long hair (cat)                    

DSH domestic short hair (cat)                   

EAGs empty anal glands

NAD nothing abnormal detected (a veces se ve como NAF-no abnormal findings)

WNL within normal limits

VMI very much improved

SOAP signalment, objective, assessment, plan (a method of organising medical records)

This dog presented collapsed, he had pale MM, a HR of 140bpm and a BP of 89/45mmHg. An AFAST revealed an haemoabdomen and a splenic mass (Image by wirestock on Freepik)


AV block atrioventricular block

BP blood pressure

CHF congestive heart failure

DCM dilated cardiomyopathy

HCM hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

URI upper respiratory infection

URTI upper respiratory tract infection

Neurology and musculoskeletal

CNS central nervous system

CrCL cranial cruciate ligament

CSF cerebrospinal fluid

DJD degenerative joint disease

IVDD intervertebral disk disease

OA osteoarthritis

TMJ temporomandibular joint


FLUTD feline lower urinary tract disease 

FUS feline urologic syndrome

GFR glomerular filtration rate 

AI artificial insemination

BUN blood urea nitrogen

UTI urinary tract infection


EPI exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

GDV gastric dilatation-volvulus

GI gastrointestinal

Few things are beyond the scope of acronyms in the veterinary prac8ces of the UK. Acronyms are even used for breeds, such as this CKCS. Abbreviations are also used for many other breeds, such as the West Highland WhiteTerrier (westie-WHWT), the Yorkshire Terrier (yorkie), the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (cavie) or the Staffordshire Terrier (staffie).

Infectious diseases

FIP feline infectious peritonitis

FIV feline immunodeficiency virus

KC kennel cough

TB tuberculosis

Emergency and critical care

CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation

DNR do not resuscitate

DOA dead on arrival

ICU intensive care unit

PTS put to sleep

QOL quality of life

RTA road traffic accident

OOH out of hours (trabajo fuera del horario normal de abertura de la clínica)

Diagnostic techniques

BAL bronchoalveolar lavage 

BAST bile acid stimulation test

BG blood glucose

CBC complete blood count

DTM dermatophyte test medium

FNA fine needle aspirate

RBC red blood cells

MRI magnetic resonance imaging 

CTscan- computed tomography

ECG electrocardiogram/electrocardiography. 

PCV packed cell volume (hematocrito). 

UA urinalysis

U/S ultrasound. También como US

POCUS- point of care ultrasound

AFAST abdominal focused assessment sonography for trauma, tiage and tracking

TFAST thoracic focused assessment sonography for trauma, tiage and tracking

 X-ray radiograph

WBC white blood cells. Se puede añadir una “C” para indicar

recuento (count), es decir, WBCC (y también RBCC)

Veterinary profession

CPD continuing professional development

RSPCA Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty in Animals

RCVS Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

MRCVS member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

DVM Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Es la denominación oficial que se da en Reino Unido a un veterinario graduado en España.


Abs/Abx antibiotic(s)

ACTH adrenocorticotropic hormone

DIC disseminated intravascular coagulation

KCS keratoconjunctivitis sicca

DM diabetes mellitus

IU international units

NSAID(s) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug(s)