Common Medical Terms

When I was in school for my associates degree in Veterinary Technology, a coworker complained to me. He was quite frustrated at his own doctor for using big words. “Why can’t they just speak English!”

Well, because terminology is drilled into you so hard in school that you seem to forget other terms or there just isn’t one. If your doctor ever uses words that confuse you, ask them to clarify. There are a lot of things we use in clinic that become habit to say that might not make sense to all. We know this and we also love to talk about it, so always ask. Never feel bad about it.

Here is a growing list of terms I use on this site that make perfect sense to someone that’s been in the field ten year, but might not make sense to anyone else.

Blockage or Foreign Body

What happens when your pet eats too much, or eats something that’s not digestible? Hopefully only an upset stomach and a few bad days, but things can get stuck in the digestive track and cause all sorts of havoc. Some of these can be pulled out with a scope.

Like the skewer this puppy ate because it had meat on it at the time. How in the world did he swallow that? I can’t answer that but it was quite awesome to watch the traveling specialist pull it right back out before it could puncture it’s way through soft puppy tissues. Especially because we didn’t have access to specialists for emergencies at 3am and would have to have done surgery to get it out and the recovery time would have been a whole lot longer and harder than the time it took for this young kid to sleep off the anesthetic drugs. We had a basset hound that had it’s Mommy’s underwear surgically removed 3 times!! 

Underwear are not digestible but are a common favorite for dogs. In cats? Why they get string foreign bodies. Because cat’s cant do things half way. I’ve seen string tied up around a cats tongue that went from the tongue and out the bottom!!! That cat was lucky. Very lucky. The vet got the string loose and it miraculously passed without issue. Mostly the intestines just keep trying to move it through and get cut or jumbled up in knots! Ugh! No good. Another lucky cat ate a string with a sewing needle attached to it and managed to pass it through the digestive system to the very end before it got stuck. How didn’t it puncture everything from stem to stern? It will always amaze me.