Common Terms used in Veterinary Preventive Medicine

Ab, Abx:  Antibiotic

APHIS: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.  Agency within the USDA that is responsible protecting animal health, animal welfare, and plant health.

Bacterin: a vaccine made from a bacteria. This term typically refers to an inactivated or a killed bacterium but occasionally is used regarding attenuated or modified live bacterial vaccines.

BCS: Body condition score.  A subjective method used for judging the body fat reserves in animals.

Bioavailability: The portion of a drug, chemical or substance that enters into the body's circulation after being introduced to the organism usually by ingestion but can also refer to inhalation or dermal contact.

Bioaccumulation: The accumulation of a substance, usually toxic, within an organism when the rate of intake of a substance is greater than the rate of excretion or metabolic transformation of that substance.

Biomagnification:  The increasing concentration of a substance in the tissues of organisms at successively higher levels in a food chain. Organisms at the top of the food chain generally suffer greater harm from a persistent toxin or pollutant than those at lower levels.

Bx:  Biopsy

: With

Carcinogen:  A substance or exposure that can lead to cancer.

CERCLA:  The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, was enacted by Congress on December 11, 1980. This law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries and provided broad Federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment.

CDC:  Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Agency under the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for prevention and control of infectious disease, foodborne pathogens, environmental health, occupational health and safety, health promotion, and injury prevention.

Danger zone:  Temperature range of 40°-140° F.  This is where most food-borne illness-causing bacteria like to replicate.  Hot foods should be kept above this, and cold foods kept below.

DNA:  Deoxyribonucleic acid.  Double-stranded, double helix of genetic material.

DHS:  Department of Homeland Security.  Department responsible for public security and safety.

Dx:  Diagnosis

DDx:  Differential diagnosis

EPA:  Environmental Protection Agency.  Agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment.

False negative: a diagnostic test result which incorrectly states that the patient does not have a disease or negative attribute when in fact, the patient does.

False positive: a diagnostic test result which incorrectly states that the patient has a disease when in fact, the patient does not and is disease free.

FDA:  Food and Drug Administration.  Agency within the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for protecting and promoting public health through supervision of food, tobacco, dietary supplements, drugs, vaccines, medical devices, cosmetics, animal feeds, and veterinary products.

FSIS:  Food Safety and Inspection Service.  Agency within the USDA that is responsible for ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products.

Fx:  Fracture

Go Bag:  Supply kit for each family member that contains food, water, medication, and clothing needed for the first 72 hours of an emergency situation.

Gold standard:  The test that is used to definitively identify or diagnose a disease or condition.

Gram-negative:  Bacteria that have a second external membrane that holds endotoxin.  These bacteria are less sensitive to antibiotics.

Gram-positive:  Bacteria that have a single, thick outer membrane.  Also known to be producers of exotoxins and have the ability to form spores.

Hx:  History

Incidence:  The number of new cases of a disease divided by the population at risk over a given period of time.



Killed vaccine: a vaccine made by using a whole or portion of an inactivated or dead virus or bacteria. While this usually refers to whole cell vaccines, any vaccine for which the antigen in focus is not living can be referred to as killed.

LD50: The dose required to kill 50% of the population.

Modified-live vaccine (MLV): a vaccine which utilized a weakened or attenuated version of the virus or bacteria to generate an antigenic response.

Morbidity:  Animals that become ill from a given disease.

Mortality:  Animals that die from a given disease.

NIOSH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  Agency within the CDC that is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for worker safety.  After becoming law, these are then enforced by OSHA.

Nonpoint source pollution: Contamination of groundwater, lakes, rivers, wetlands, or coastal waters by pollutants that have been picked up over a large area upstream, and carried by runoff from snowmelt or rain.

OSHA:  Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  Branch of the Department of Labor that is responsible for the enforcement of safety regulations.

PCR: Polymerase chain reaction.  The technique used to replicate DNA sequences.  This type of test is commonly used to identify bacteria in food-borne illness outbreaks.

Point-source contamination:  Defined by the U.S. EPA as “any single identifiable source of pollution from which pollutants are discharged, such as a pipe, ditch, ship or factory smokestack.”

Prevalence:  A ratio and is a measure of burden. The total number of individuals with the disease is divided by the total population at a specific point in time.

Px:  Prognosis

RNA:  Ribonucleic acid.  A single strand of genetic material.

Rx:  Prescription

Sensitivity:  The ability of a test to correctly identify positive cases, with a low rate of false negatives.  Good for a confirmatory test.

Specificity:  The ability of a test to correctly identify negative cases, with a low rate of false positives.  Good for a screening test.

Sx:  Surgery

True negative: A test result which accurately identified the patient as healthy.

True positive:  A test result which accurately identifies the patient as having the disease being tested for.

Tx:  Treatment

USDA:  United States Department of Agriculture.  Agency responsible for developing and enforcing federal laws regarding farming, agriculture, forestry and food.

Vaccine: Typically a liquid unit comprising biologic material which is used to stimulate the immune system against a particular pathogen.

Vx:  Vaccine

Wx:  Weather

YOPI: Young, old, pregnant, immunocompromised.  These groups of people are more at risk of food-borne illness.