Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Abbreviation Addition and Comment

I just had to add another abbreviation that we use a lot. Like WB, not typically applicable in human medicine unless you work with "mentally or physically challenged adults" as one of my tech friends who did just that in a former life would say.

HTH: Hard to Handle; this covers a whole gambit of possibilities and we do sometimes use it to refer to the owner more so than the pet...

The other comment I am forced to add is the way abbreviations can mean different things in different context. Not specifically referring to the "official abbreviations" like NPO, PRN, etc. but to abbreviations that we use almost as slang. For instance, in vet school in my notes BM might stand for basement membrane, bowel movement, or bone all depended on what class the notes were taken for and what we were discussing. Good thing I can decipher my own Egyptian hieroglyphs since it is a necessity to figure out the abbreviations!

Random whimsy

Hi all two faithful readers! I know it's been a while... I've been bored out of my mine, er, busy lately and haven't really had much blog fodder. However, I'm in a whimisical mood today, so thought I'd take some time to address one of the necessary evils of the shared medical profession. Namely,


That's right, those annoying acronyms and other little things that make medical-ese sound like a while new language. In many ways it is, as myself and May B. Insane commented when we were in vet school together. In many ways acquiring a medical education renders you forever unable to hold a normal conversation with non-medical family and friends. Anyway, I digress a bit. On to today's topic...

abbreviations. (Insert drum roll here)

There are many medical abbreviations out there and many are particular to the human medical establishment and the veterinary medical establishment. Here are a few. I'll be adding to these as the week progresses.

ADR- very scientific and technical term that translates to ain't doin' right. This is a catch all, a panacea for stuff where we really don't know what's going on or have unspecific signs. Commonly a descriptor as well. "That dog is ADR and in the hospital for the night."

HBC- ham, bacon, cheese... er, no, that's what I want for lunch... Hit By Car is the direct translation of HBC. Not an often mentioned one in human medicine, very common in veterinary medicine. "We have an HBC en route."

CBC- complete blood count, same as for human medicine. A count and morphological review of the red and white blood cells.

PRN- as needed, literal translation is some Latin phrase I can't remember right now...

WB- will bite, what we might put on a cage card of an aggressive patient. Probably not something you see too often in human medicine, depending on what specialty you're in...

NPO- another latin phrase that means nothing by mouth.

More to come, feel free to request explanations of abbreviations as well.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


The past several weeks have been quite insane in the Insane household as well as at the zoo workplace. The theme of the month (or more) has been cancer and Murphy's Law.

During the same week as my last post, I also diagnosed cancer in my friend and technician's dog. She has a kidney mass, lung metastasis, and hypertrophic osteopathy (bone changes secondary to primary tumors in the chest, abdomen, lung mets, or heartworm disease.) It seems as if every time I turn I find another tumor on every other patient or has to stop!!!!!

Since I last posted, I have added to the herd. Someone tossed out a pair of pups, male and female, not far from where I live. Ironically, it's the same area where I found a previous pair about 11 years ago. These look like Catahoulas and the male is going to be a small horse if he grows to match his feet which are almost the size of my hands. Currently, I'm calling them Guess and Maybe but we'll have to see if that sticks since I typically find it hard to find the right name.

Last Friday, I was greeted with a scene directly from Hamlet. My old dog Tag was chewing on something and the pups were staring at him wagging their tails in anticipation. In a really awful way, it was funny but at the same time very disturbing when I discovered that they had dug up my dog Bogie's grave (almost a year ago) and Tag was chewing on his best friend's skull...

After that start, the day failed to improve. It started with an emergency C-section with a cat in status epilepticus presenting while I was in surgery (and the only doc there). The cat wound up being euthanized; my best guess is antifreeze toxicity based on what diagnostics I was allowed to perform. We ran like idiots all day long with one fun thing after another. I also had weekend duty although there were no critical patients in the hospital. The primary one I spent time on was the colonic resection and anastomosis we had done the previous Wednesday.

This dog had a history of rectal prolapse for which no one had apparently searched to find a reason. Turns out he had a colonic intussusception, likely secondary to a severe parasitic load given his age. He is doing great and could have gone home Monday except that his owner had obligations therefore couldn't pick him up.

Since I had to be at the clinic for the weekend anyway and I live just far enough away for it to be a pain to travel back and forth, I took the pups to spay and neuter, took Tag to groom (now that's a big job, he's a 97 pound border collie mix with lots of hair), and took my old decrepit cat to follow up on her facial swelling. In essence, I spent the entire weekend at the clinic and totally PO'd my little dogs who think they are supposed to go everywhere with me and that weekends belong to them. I further upset the apple cart by leaving the jack russel mix home on Sunday to which he responded by thinking I was abandoning him forever! (Like most of the herd, he has a background and it's not unreasonable for him to get panicked by being left...)

Monday, I had a day off so I decided since the morning was still cool, I would shave my other old dog, Sam, who has early laryngeal paralysis and has trouble breathing in his winter coat in the warm, humid weather. I was so proud of myself for being so careful with his breathing and arthritic/old injury difficulties for the shave to go so smoothly. Until the last leg. He yanked and I cut my thumb then we got into a fight then he rolled over onto his back and urinated all over me, the porch, himself, the clippers, my shoes, etc. It was just awesome. Then, to top it off, I went inside and found that my little old Bichon had urinated all over the couch because he was mad that I had left him inside. I cleaned the mess, got a shower, and collapsed to a well deserved chocolate hug.

Tuesday I worked and absolutely nothing went according to plan, smoothly, or easily. To the point that I threatened to either shoot myself or quit. I was asked if I would walk out to the dumpster and get in prior to shooting myself since no one wanted to clean up the mess. Do you feel the love?? To add insult to injury, I now have ringworm on my neck and arms. I'm not certain who the culprit is but I'm betting it was the English bulldog that I sent skin cultures in on; guess my DTM culture is positive.

That covers the highlights of the past few weeks/days. Just think cancer and crazy and you've about got it.