What Do Those Veterinary Abbreviations Mean?

What Do Those Veterinary Abbreviations Mean?

A veterinarian examining a cat.A veterinarian examining a cat.
A veterinarian examining a cat.A veterinarian examining a cat.

An A-Z Guide to Veterinary Abbreviations

If you have ever tried to read your dog or cat’s medical report, you’ve likely encountered a veritable alphabet soup of abbreviations. What do all those letters mean?

Here’s a list of abbreviations your veterinarian uses, from A to Z.

  • Abc Or Abx – antibiotic(s)
  • Abd – abdomen
  • Ac – before meals
  • ACT – activated clotting time
  • ACTH – adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • AD – right ear
  • ADH – antidiuretic hormone, Vasopressin
  • Ad Lib – as desired
  • ADR – ain’t doing right
  • AF – atrial fibrillation
  • AG – albumin/globulin ratio
  • AI – artificial insemination
  • AIHA – autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Alb – albumin
  • ALKP – alkaline phosphatase
  • ALT – alanine aminotransferase
  • ANS – autonomic nervous system
  • AP – anterior posterior
  • APC – atrial premature contraction
  • ARF – acute renal failure
  • AS – left ear/aortic stenosis
  • AST – aspartate aminotransferase
  • ATE – aortic thromboembolism
  • AU – both ears
  • AV – atrioventricular
  • Ba – barium
  • BARH – bright, alert, responsive, and hydrated
  • BAR – bright, alert, and responsive
  • BBB – blood brain barrier
  • BD/LD – big dog/little dog
  • BID – twice per day
  • BM – bowel movement
  • BP – blood pressure
  • BPH – benign prostatic hypertrophy
  • BT – bleeding time
  • BUN – blood urea nitrogen
  • Bx – biopsy
  • C. – with
  • C – Celsius
  • C1, C2 – first cervical vertebra, second cervical vertebra
  • Cal – calorie(s)
  • Cap – capsule
  • CBC – complete blood count
  • CC – chief complaint/cubic centimeter
  • CD – canine distemper
  • Chem – profile, blood profile, chemistry, blood chemistry, diagnostic profile
  • CHF – congestive heart failure
  • CK – creatine kinase
  • Cm – centimeter
  • CNS – central nervous system
  • CO – carbon monoxide
  • CO2 – carbon dioxide
  • Code/Code Blue – emergency help
  • COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • COR – care of remains
  • CPCR – cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation
  • CPK – creatine phosphokinase
  • CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • CPV – canine parvovirus
  • Creat – creatinine
  • CRF – chronic renal failure
  • CRI – constant rate infusion
  • CSF – cerebrospinal fluid
  • CSVD – coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea
  • CT Scan – computed tomography
  • CV – cardiovascular
  • CVA – cerebral vascular accident
  • CVI – cervical vertebral instability
  • CVT – certified veterinary technician
  • CXR – chest X-ray (radiograph)
  • D – diarrhea
  • D/C – discontinue
  • DCM – dilated cardiomyopathy
  • DDD – degenerative disc disease
  • DDX – differential diagnosis
  • Derm – dermatology
  • DFW – dog fight wounds
  • DI – diabetes insipidus
  • DIC – disseminated intravascular coagulation
  • Diff – differential count
  • Dig – digoxin
  • DJD – degenerative joint disease
  • DLH – domestic long-haired cat
  • DM – diabetes mellitus
  • DMH – domestic medium-haired cat
  • DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid
  • DPL – diagnostic peritoneal lavage
  • DSH – domestic short-haired cat
  • Dx – diagnosis
  • ECG or EKG – electrocardiogram
  • EEG – electroencephalogram
  • EENT – eyes, ears, nose, and throat
  • ELISA – enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
  • EMG – electromyogram
  • EOD – every other day
  • Eos – eosinophil
  • ED – every day
  • EMD – electromechanical dissociation
  • F – Fahrenheit
  • FA – fluorescent antibody
  • FAD – flea allergy dermatitis
  • FBS – fasting blood sugar
  • FDA – Food And Drug Administration
  • Fel – feline
  • Felv – feline leukemia virus
  • FHA – femoral head and neck osteotomy
  • FIA – feline infectious anemia
  • FIP – feline infectious peritonitis
  • FIV – feline immunodeficiency virus
  • Fl – fluid
  • FLUTD – feline lower urinary tract disease
  • FNA – fine needle aspirate
  • FORL – feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion
  • FSH – follicle-stimulating hormone
  • FU – follow-up in reference to next lab procedure, re-evaluation, etc.
  • FUS – feline urologic syndrome
  • Fx – fracture
  • G or Gm – gram
  • Gal – gallon(s)
  • GDV – gastric dilatation volvulus
  • GFR – glomerular filtration rate
  • GH – growth hormone
  • GI – gastrointestinal
  • Glu – glucose
  • Gr – grain
  • GSD – German Shepherd dog
  • Gtt – drops
  • H. – hour
  • Hb – hemoglobin
  • HBC – hit by car
  • HCM – hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • HCT – hematocrit
  • HD – hip dysplasia
  • HDDST – high dose dexamethasone suppression test
  • Hg – mercury
  • HGE – hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • H/L – heart and lungs
  • HOD – hypertrophic osteodystrophy
  • HR – heart rate
  • Hs – bedtime
  • HSA – hemangiosarcoma
  • HW – heartworm
  • Hx – history
  • H2O2 – hydrogen peroxide
  • ICU – intensive care unit
  • IC – intracardiac
  • ID – intradermal
  • IFA – indirect fluorescent antibody
  • Ig – immunoglobulin
  • IM – intramuscular
  • IMHA – immune-mediated hemolytic anemia
  • Inj – injection
  • IO – intraosseous
  • IOP – intraocular pressure
  • IP – intraperitoneal
  • IPPV – intermittent positive pressure ventilation
  • ITP – immune-mediated thrombocytopenia
  • IU – international units
  • IV – intravenous
  • IVDD – intervertebral disk disease
  • IVP – intravenous pyelogram
  • K9 – canine
  • K – potassium
  • KBr – potassium bromide
  • Kcal – kilocalorie(s)
  • KCS – keratoconjunctivitis sicca
  • Kg – kilogram(s)
  • L – liter(s)
  • L1, L2 – first, second lumbar vertebra
  • LA – left atrium
  • Lat – lateral
  • Lb. – pound
  • LDDST – low-dose dexamethasone suppression test
  • LH – luteinizing hormone
  • LN – lymph node(s)
  • LRS – lactated ringers solution
  • LSA – lymphosarcoma
  • LV – left ventricle
  • LVT – licensed veterinary technician
  • Lymphs – lymphocytes
  • Mg – milligram
  • MI – mitral insufficiency (commonly used for myocardial infarction in humans)
  • Ml – milliliter
  • MM – mucous membranes
  • MR – mitral regurgitation
  • MRI – magnetic resonance imaging
  • MS – musculoskeletal
  • Na – sodium
  • NAF – no abnormal findings
  • NPOnil per os (no food or water by mouth)
  • NSA – normal sinus arrhythmia
  • NSF – no significant findings
  • NSR – normal sinus rhythm
  • NSU – no significant change from last exam
  • NVL – no visible lesions
  • O – owner
  • O2 – oxygen
  • OD – right eye
  • OES – Old English Sheepdog
  • OFA – Orthopedic Foundation For Animals
  • OHE – ovariohysterectomy
  • OR – operating room
  • OS – left eye
  • OSI – owner stopped in
  • OU – both eyes
  • OV – office visit
  • Oz – ounce
  • Path – pathology
  • P.C. – after meals
  • PCFO – phone call from owner
  • PCTO – phone call to owner
  • PCV – packed cell volume
  • PDA – patent ductus arteriosus
  • PE – physical examination/pulmonary edema
  • PEA – pulseless electrical activity (previously EMD)
  • Pl Eff – pleural effusion
  • PLN – peripheral lymph nodes
  • Plt – platelet
  • POper os/by mouth
  • PPM – persistent papillary membrane
  • PPMSH – past pertinent medical and surgical history
  • PPN – partial parenteral nutrition
  • PRAA – persistent right aortic arch
  • PRBC – packed red blood cells
  • PRN – as needed
  • PT – prothrombin time
  • PTH – parathyroid hormone
  • PTT – partial thromboplastin time
  • PU/PD – polyuric/polydypsic
  • PVC – premature ventricular contraction
  • Px – prognosis
  • Q – every
  • Q4h – every 4 hours
  • QAR – quiet, alert, responsive
  • QD – every day
  • QID – four times daily
  • QOD – every other day
  • RA – right atrium
  • R & A – resection and anastomosis
  • RACL – ruptured anterior cruciate ligament
  • RBC – red blood cell
  • RDVM – referring veterinary colleague
  • REM – rapid eye movement
  • RMSF – Rocky mountain spotted fever
  • R/O – rule out
  • RT – radiation therapy
  • RV – right ventricle
  • RVN – registered veterinary nurse
  • RVT – registered veterinary technician
  • Rx – prescription
  • S. – without
  • SA – sinus arrhythmia
  • SC – subcutaneously
  • SID – once per day
  • SLE – systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Sig: – directions to patient
  • SOAP – signalment, objective, assessment, plan
  • SQ – subcutaneously
  • Staph – staphylococcus
  • Stat – immediately
  • SX – surgery
  • Sz – seizure
  • T – temperature
  • Tab – tablet
  • Tbsp – tablespoon (15 ml)
  • TID – three times per day
  • Top – topically
  • TP – total protein
  • TPN – total parenteral nutrition
  • TPR – temp, pulse, respiratory rate
  • Tsp. – teaspoon (5 ml)
  • Tx – treatment
  • U – units/urine
  • UA – urinalysis
  • UGI – upper gastrointestinal
  • URI – upper respiratory infection
  • URV – upper respiratory virus
  • US – ultrasound
  • UTI – urinary tract infection
  • UO – urinary obstruction
  • V – vomiting
  • VA – veterinary assistant
  • VD – ventrodorsal
  • V/D – vomiting/diarrhea
  • VPC – ventricular premature contraction
  • VWD – von Willebrand’s disease
  • WBC – white blood cell
  • WNL – within normal limits
  • Wt – weight
  • X-Ray – radiograph (C-X-ray = chest X-ray; Abd X-ray = abdominal X-ray)

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